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This has been an unusually strong year for star-studded horror comedies, most notably Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant’s Hell Baby, Jacob Vaughn’s Bad Milo, and even Jonathan Levine’s Warm Bodies and Paul Middleditch’s Rapture-Palooza. Hollywood’s biggest and brightest are no longer so wary of starring in flicks that mix scares with the laughter. XYZ Films’ Life After Beth, the directorial debut from I Heart Huckabees co-writer Jeff Baena, is the latest star-studded sub-genre offering. And according to ScreenDaily, it has wrapped its Los Angeles production just in time for the producers to seek international distribution at the Toronto Film Festival, which begins this week. Sony Pictures Classics will be handling the film’s U.S. release, which means it might make it to more than just three theaters.
Since we last reported on Life After Beth, the film has amassed a major cast. Not only are Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza and John C. Reilly starring, but there’s also Dane DeHaan (The Place Beyond the Pines), Molly Shannon (Saturday Night Live), Paul Reiser (Mad About You), Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect) and Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds). Kendrick gets extra credit for also having starred in Rapture-Palooza, but then loses those points since that movie wasn’t that great.
Produced by American Zoetrope, Starstream Entertainment and Abbolita Productions, Life After Beth falls into the vastly overworked zombie subset, and follows Zach (DeHaan), a young man whose life is turned upside-down when his recently deceased girlfriend comes back to life. I’m not even sure if Kendrick or Plaza is the zombified love interest. As far as I can tell, Shannon and Reiser will play the parents to DeHaan and Gubler, while Hines and Reilly will play Plaza’s parents.
It’s unfortunate that Baena has no previous work to compare this film to. Considering Huckabees was a David O. Russell movie, there’s no telling where his work ended and Baena’s began. We can’t even tell if this will be a balls-to-the-wall comedy or something more subtle. The only other thing Baena has been attached to is Revenge of the Jocks, a plot flip on Revenge of the Nerds, which doesn’t get my hopes up. DeHaan and Reilly make it especially hard to gauge, since they’re also known for their dramatic work. But Reilly can act in just about anything under the sun, so I’m not too worried.
XYZ Films, who released the ridiculously awesome horror Frankenstein’s Army, is taking a few other potential sales to Toronto, including another horror comedy, Stung, and the Dutch crime thriller Wolf. Another one of their films also finished shooting recently, the highly anticipated sequel to Gareth Evans’ The Raid: Redemption.
I wouldn’t expect it to take long for someone to snatch this film up, as its $2.4 million budget makes it seem like an easy movie to profit from, given the popularity of its central cast. Does it sound interesting to you guys?