We have been subjected to a seemingly unending onslaught of zombie movies in recent years, thanks to the fi nancial success of Zack Snyder's crappy 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake, so it's diffi cult to come up with anything fresh in this sub-genre. World War Z, however, has some intense set pieces that I have not seen before in a zombie fi lm.
Based on the popular novel by Max Brooks, which is written as an oral history, this movie adaptation is a straight narrative with a main character. Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane, an employee of the United Nations, who is assigned to fi nd a cure for a global zombie outbreak. He must fi rst seek out its origin, so he starts off by going to South Korea.
After a shaky start with a rather generic mass zombie attack, this globetrotting thriller quickly kicks into high gear when Lane gets his assignment, and from there on the movie never lets up. Director Marc Forster (Monster's Ball, Stranger Than Fiction) keeps things moving at a swift pace and knows how to build up the tension, but he doesn't forget to give us some quiet moments to catch our breath.
The performances are uniformly good. Pitt is fi ne as usual, and Daniella Kertesz, as an Israeli soldier, has a good presence and does a lot with little dialogue. And Mireille Enos does what she can with the thankless role of Lane's worried wife.
There are many inventive moments in World War Z, like when Lane and his fellow travelers have to ride bikes back to their plane in the pitch black of night to avoid rousing the undead from their zombie slumber, or the scene where a zombie attack occurs in a jetliner in mid-fl ight.
Even though this is a PG-13 studio fi lm, it is still pretty damn harrowing. It's horror done on a grand scale and not for the faint of heart, and it is one hell of an exciting ride.