Sorry, Sam, but snakes don’t cut it anymore. Marc Forster’s got motherfuckin’ zombies on this motherfuckin’ plane, in the ultimate revenge fantasy of economy class on a harrowing Jerusalem-Cardiff flight. These dead don’t walk; they run, necks outstretched, with cloudy eyes staring but unseeing, clicking their teeth like hungry, rabid rodents. Blind, ravenous, guided by sound and attracted to loud noises, the creatures move in terrifying swarms that pour down city streets like flooding rivers, take down flaming helicopters, crawl ant-like up walls, and scramble over barricades. And they’re awesome.
World War Z is a surprisingly entertaining, fitfully exciting extravaganza that’s more substantive than the usual summer fare. Forster’s big-scaled zombiepocalypse is imaginative and intelligent, gripping and grown-up, filled with small details and quiet, simple moments as much as spectacular set pieces of terror and mayhem that are cleverly conceived and sleekly crafted. An expertly paced globe-trotting mystery, the film owes more to medical thrillers like The Andromeda Strain, Outbreak, or Contagion than it does to George Romero’s seminal works and other zombie films, with the exception perhaps of Danny Boyle’s near-masterpiece 28 Days Later. Tension, suggestion, and silence, interrupted by creaking doors, crunching glass, even a soda can rolling across a cafeteria floor, can be a lot more effective than rotting flesh, leaking pustules, and gore.