People have always been attracted to the supernatural, be it the secrets of the Egyptian Pharaohs’ tombs, or your corny Friday night horror film. Traditionally, there is a wide range of creatures to choose from: werewolves, witches, or simply a monster in one’s closet. There is, however, one craze that seems to have been persistent over the past few years, namely, people’s fascination with zombies, which the recent 2013 movie, World War Z (Forster, Gardner, Kleiner, & Bryce, & Forster, 2013), has proven well enough. Despite the fact that the idea of being haunted by a supernatural force that craves for nothing but human flesh might seem rather worn-out, it causes a legitimate fear even nowadays, since it presupposes that in the war against human-killing creatures that look exactly like people, there is no one to trust but yourself.
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Much to the movie’s advantage, though, it makes a very efficient use of its audience’s deepest fears by creating the characters that hit the right note on the Uncanny Valley score sheet (Misselhorn, 2009). Of course, the movie has its flaws, the main one being the lack of character development and the overuse of the standard apocalyptic movie tropes. It would be unreasonable to blame the director, though – with the task that stood before him, i.e., the need to capture the horror of the chase scenes, as well as the atmosphere of despair that shot the entire world through, developing complex characters seems like an unnecessary task; these characters would have shifted the emphasis from the zombie apocalypse to the relationships between the characters; thus, the audience would have lost the focus of what was important. Therefore, personal dramas were understandably kept to the minimum. An intriguing and tense movie, the World War Z is definitely worth checking out at least for the sake of the special effects that, much to the audience’s surprise, were pretty well integrated, even though the character development could have been better. These effects, though, align with the demands of the film genre (Bordwell & Thompson, 2010, Chapter 9).
Bordwell, D., & Thompson, K. (2010). Film art: an introduction (10th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.
Forster, M., Gardner, D., Kleiner, J. & Bryce, I. (Prod.), & Forster, M. (Dir.). (2013). World War Z. USA: Paramount Pictures.
Misselhorn,C. ( 2009). Empathy with Inanimate Objects and the Uncanny Valley. Minds & Machines, 19(3), pp. 345–359.