Do you guys ever just think about Aubrey Plaza?
I’m not talking about the Aubrey Plaza we fell in love with on Parks and Rec, or the Aubrey Plaza that scares the sh*t out of us on Legion. I’m talking about a specific Aubrey Plaza. An undead Aubrey Plaza. The kind of Aubrey Plaza that Aubrey Plaza plays in the zom-rom-com Life After Beth.
If you haven’t seen the film yet, check it out on Netflix. It’s a heaping dose of weird sprinkled with some brilliant comedic performances from John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon.
Dane DeHaan’s in it too, playing a lovelorn wet blanket mourning the loss of his girlfriend who died and then, mysteriously, came back to life. He finds out in the worst of ways — catching a glimpse of her corpse waltzing around her childhood home while wearing a particularly vomit-inducing hand-knitted scarf.
But this story isn’t about him. The entire film really isn’t about him.
It’s about Aubrey Plaza playing an angst-ridden, hormonal zombie.
Plaza milks the hell out of this role, giving us an entirely realized arc. First, she’s the confused young woman, wondering why her parents are confining her to the house and keeping her from her boyfriend.
Then she’s learning about her death by staring at her empty grave and fighting the overwhelming urge to eat people. She’s shamed for that dietary preference by her “loving” boyfriend even though she is a zombie and zombies eat people, OK?
But once the human flesh has settled in her stomach and she goes full Walking Dead on her parents and her paramour, that’s when Plaza really shines. She makes dried blood look like a Savage Fenty beauty product. Her rotting teeth remind us having pearly whites is overrated. Eyes may be the windows to the soul, but zombified Aubrey Plaza likes a little mystery, so she’s got cataracts instead. She snarls and grunts and slobbers with the best of them.
And for her pièce de résistance, Plaza impales herself on a kitchen stove, carting it on her back as she goes for long, romantic hikes with her boyfriend and tries not to consume the innocent passersby.
In fact, the only reason this whole thing works is because of Aubrey Plaza, an actress I’m convinced would be happier living as a sea witch in some cave over giving talk show interviews and walking red carpets. Her brand of weird speaks to all of us, but it works best when it’s weaponized and wielded for comedy like it is in Life After Beth.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think about Aubrey Plaza playing a zombie quite a lot these days… and I think you should too.