Could World War Z End The Zombie Genre?


I love zombies. I love zombie movies, I love zombie books. It is a genre that I really dig. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same. With the adaptation of Max Brooks’ brilliantly written World War Z, many feel that after this film comes out there isn’t much left to do in the genre. I am, like others, very weary of this adaptation for many reasons. One being that the book is an oral biography and I find it hard to translate that to a visual medium like film.

This film is going to be a massively produced film, that requires money, and lots of it (and lots of extras). Not only is it going to take tons of money and people and time, its got a HUGE star for the lead role. Brad Pitt (and folks, he isn’t cheap.) Basically, this film is going to be the biggest zombie film of all time, and after that where do you go? I say you just keep making awesome zombie indie flicks, but some people feel that because this film is so huge that it might just kill the genre. Because once it is out there, what can indie films do to one up it?

Recently, E! News talked with actress Mireille Enos. She plays Pitt’s wife in the project and she had this to say about the upcoming project:

“It was [going to be] from the beginning.  That was the hope, that if the first one turned out the way we all anticipate, that it would be great to turn it into a trilogy. It’s exciting.”

She then added:

“It’s like zombies are the new vampires.  It’s taking over. But somebody said to me this movie might end the zombie genre because, after this, what else is there to do? It’s huge!”

Personally, I don’t think that this is a “genre killer” (after all Twilight didn’t kill vampires, it just made them stronger). I could never tire of seeing the undead terrorize people in farmhouses and amusement parks.

I  have seen almost every zombie film out there, and just finished reading the book, “Everything You Wanted To Know About Zombies” and frankly, this genre is just getting started. With the editions to the genre every year like Pontypool, Quarantine, Zombieland, plus pop culture shows using the concept (Community Halloween episode!), the  genre doesn’t seem to be slowing down any, but more growing interest. More concepts are being added to the overall source that is zombies. We have live zombies, dead zombies, zombie like maniacs. With so many new ideas being added to the original source text of Zombie-ism (Romero’s Night of Living Dead).

There are few “horror” movie techniques better then watching people hold out in various place while the undead hordes hunt them down, whether it is a rural farmhouse in Pennsylvania, or if it is a grocery store, or a radio station. It doesnt matter, watching this very scary and very real (in my mind) threat  is one of the best types of horror movies. A good example of this is the new show, “The Walking Dead”. This show doesn’t focus on character development so much as it does the reality of living after the zombie apocalypse. Loved ones will die, people will go missing, and other will kill themselves rather than live in the new world that has been created. And yes sometimes you will get stuck in the center of a horde with a shotgun that has limited ammo. A ghost trying to kill me through a tv? Not as real as the impending Z- Day.

Once again, no World War Z will not be a genre killer. It is simply adding more credibility to the genre. If you have seen all the other films out there, you know that just because you’ve seen hordes of zombies millions of times, doesn’t mean you don’t want to keep seeing it. I think that this movie will make those other films stronger and other zombie director stronger. If this film does well, that it paves the way for other films to come out and get better funding and get their film out there.

And when Z-Day does happen, hopefully we will all be more prepared to handle it. I mean every zombie movie out there has showed us what NOT to do and (some) the correct things to do to not get eaten/bitten/torn apart/infected or if you are a zombie how not  to get killed (again ,cause hey, zombies were people too).

However, if it is anything like it Romero’s world or Brian Keene’s novel series then we don’t stand a chance because once we die, it doesn’t matter we are all zombies anyway.

All in all, I think that if nothing else, those small indie companies will continue to make great new zombie films (anyone see Pontypool? It was fantastic!) So, no this isn’t a genre killer, but more like genre fuel. There is still a plethora of people out there who would love to see more zombie movies, and still directors out there would like to make them.(although I am still scared of what they have done to one of my favorite books.)

So don’t give up on this genre just yet, it has years to go before it is as hokey and lame as some other supernatural series that lasted way to long in the limelight (ahem Twilight).

World War Z opens in theaters December 21 from Paramount.

Leave a Reply