World War Z’s Place In Zombie Fiction


World War Z
‘s Place in Zombie Fiction

Susan Nichols

Entertainment these days is incredibly accessible for fans of different genres and methods of entertainment. If ESPN is airing a popular sports broadcast, sports fans can stream it live from any device that can access the Internet; if J.K. Rowling is revealed to have written a crime novel under a pseudonym (this just happened), thousands of fans can instantly download the e-book; and if Betfair invents a popular new casino gaming app, it will be downloaded by the truckload instantaneously. Fortunately for fans of zombie sagas, many of these modes of entertainment can be enjoyed.

From hit games like Plants Vs. Zombies and the Call of Duty Zombie mode, to a seemingly endless onslaught of zombie literature, this popular genre has exploded all over the realm of entertainment. And this is why the release of the Brad Pitt film “World War Z” earlier this year was such a significant event. But was the film a success?

Some zombie fan purists prefer low budget films and “cult” fiction, rather than blockbuster attention, and there’s certainly an argument to be made that the massive budgets of Hollywood can cheapen a zombie epic. In this particular case, the film may not have delivered a traditional zombie fiction vibe, but it certainly had its strong points. Here are a few observations of “World War Z.”

Was it true to the book?

Many know that “World War Z” was based on the novel by the same name by popular zombie author Max Brooks. However, Brooks is on record criticizing the film, which, all things considered, was based only loosely on the book. Brad Pitt did hint, however, that a potential sequel may delve more into the details in the book.

Was it terrifying?

Let’s be honest – we want our zombie fiction to be terrifying. So, was “World War Z?” Well, yes and no. To some extent, the film took itself lightly. It was certainly no horror film, and at moments the zombies’ movements and actions were almost laughable. From a human perspective, however, the film approached a zombie disaster in a way that seemed plausible and terrifying.

Was it believable?

Yes, and this is where any existing terror comes in. “World War Z” was a surprisingly realistic feeling film, more about the spread of a deadly virus than yet another tired focus on sauntering living dead villains. The film felt at least remotely like something that could happen, and that was its strongest quality.

Was it original?

To the extent that any film based on a book can be, yes. Again, this was more of a virus film than a monster movie, and for that reason it felt pretty original among zombie fiction.

Is there sequel potential?

Absolutely. At the end of “World War Z,” humankind has hope, but the real war has only just begun. Pitt and others have already hinted strongly at a sequel, so if you liked this film there should be more on the way to keep you happy.

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