There are still a few more weeks to go before World War Z brings its unique spin on the zombie apocalypse to theaters, but Paramount Pictures hosted an early screening of the film Wednesday night with a surprise guest: star and producer Brad Pitt.
Pitt dropped by a packed theater in Hoboken, New Jersey, to introduce the late-night screening of his upcoming horror film based on Max Brooks' celebrated novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. A full review will hit Movies.com closer to the film's June 21 release, but here are a few (spoiler-free) things we learned from last night's screening:
1. Zombies Love New Jersey (and New Jersey Loves Zombies)
While introducing the film, Pitt offered a brief explanation for the Hoboken screening: “They said we've got to do a showing in the city for the media and some friends... so we decided there's no better place to do that than Jersey.”
Although this might seem like lip service for the hometown audience, New York City's next-door neighbor does factor prominently in the film, with several key scenes set in Newark, New Jersey (and nearby Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). Strangely, postapocalyptic Newark doesn't look that much different from real-world Newark. (Zing!)
2. The Living Dead Are a Global Problem
What really sets World War Z apart from other recent zombie movies is the global scope of the story, which gives audiences a look at the international implications of a living-dead apocalypse, well beyond what happens to a small group of survivors (the typical focus of zombie films). As a former UN investigator, Pitt's character travels around the world over the course of the film, and discovers how different geographic regions have weathered (or been obliterated by) zombie hordes.
3. These Aren't Your Average Walkers
The zombies of World War Z lie somewhere between the shambling, mindless drones of classic zombie movies (and The Walking Dead) and the clever, almost superhuman creatures of films like the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. They're fast, but only as fast as the person they once were. And how do they find their food? Well, you'll have to learn about that element for yourself.
4. It Has Brad Pitt's Guarantee
The star and producer of World War Z has a big stake in the film's success, and he's not above making some bold promises regarding the film. During his setup for the screening, Pitt told the New Jersey crowd, “We've got a monster film for you. It's epic, scary as hell, and I guarantee it's the most intense thing you're going to see all summer.”
5. It Puts the Disease Back in “Zombie Plague”
Along with the global scale of the film, World War Z also offers a distinctly different take on the spread of the disease – especially the notion that it is a disease. The film blends the tone of procedural viral outbreak thrillers with all the jump-scares of zombie horror, with a splash of international politics and military strategy thrown in for good measure.
6. It Gives New Meaning to “Crowd-Sourced”
Early trailers for the film offer a nice hint of what's to come regarding the massive crowds of zombies that – quite literally – fill the world of World War Z. Whether they're scrambling over each other to scale a wall or pouring down a narrow alleyway, the zombies of World War Z are a tide of living-dead destruction.
More than anything else, however, the most prominent lessons taught by World War Z are that there's still some life left in the zombie genre, and that when it comes to tales of the living dead, bigger can indeed be better. While it's not a chapter-by-chapter adaptation of the book that inspired it, the new film should offer a lot to like for fans of the novel and anyone else looking for a fresh take on the zombie apocalypse.