The alternative title for this film could very well be World War Zzzzzzzzz, for although it is impeccably made and has locations spanning the globe it never really comes alive and is less scary than many a children’s cartoon.
This is another zombie pic where one man ostensibly single-handedly saves the whole world, but whereas I Am Legend had plenty of knuckle-biting moments, here you feel anything remotely frightening probably stayed on the cutting-room floor.
Our hero is Gerry (Brad Pitt), an ex-UN trouble-shooter now staying at home making pancakes for his wife and two daughters. But then there’s an outbreak of some new virus that, when passed from zombie to normal humans via bites, transforms them into the undead too. When it hits Gerry’s home town of Philadelphia he is helicoptered out by his ex-boss in order to discover where (and how) the original outbreak started and to see if he can stop the virus from spreading further.
What follows is Gerry flying around just about making it out alive from various locations but discovering absolutely nothing. On the way he acquires a quasi-lieutenant in the form of Israeli soldier Segen (Daniella Kertesz), survives a plane crash in Wales and finally makes a breakthrough that could offer the human race some hope. But will you feel excited by this? More importantly, will you be perched on the edge of your seat, fist in mouth waiting for that first bite?
Unfortunately not because the zombies just aren’t that menacing – and it doesn’t help that the scenes at a research laboratory (complete with The Thick Of It’s Malcolm Tucker – actor Peter Capaldi – minus the swearing) features zombies that look about as scary as the ones in Michael Jackson’s Thriller. There’s also the most blatant piece of product placement you’ll see all year.
So, if you’re looking for big box office thrills and spills you are going to have to wait for this year’s other blockbusters to deliver because you certainly won’t find them here.