26 Sep 2016

ZOMBIE FILM RULES - World War Z (2013)

Every genre has cliches, but how well do zombie films follow the Zombie film rules?

The following analysis may contain spoilers for

WORLD WAR Z (2013)


There will be no warning...

"Most people don't believe something can happen until it already has. That's not stupidity or weakness, that's just human nature." ~ Jurgen Warmbrunn.

1a.  Eerie - Use of clip footage during opening credits.
1b.  News - Use of clip footage during opening credits.
1c.  Sudden - The outbreak seems to occur (for our heroes) during a traffic jam, while the opening credits.


There may be sex and nudity.

"Wake up!" ~ Constance Lane.
"Oh, creatures in our bed..." ~ Karin Lane.
"No sleeping!" ~ Constance Lane.

2a.  Nudity - No nudity.
2b.  Sex - No sex.


Unknown cause.

"You can't make a dead person sick." ~ Doctor.

3a.  Unknown origin - The earliest it could be traced back to was to Indian, but it wasn't explored further.
3b.  Vague hints - Shown to be a virus.
3c.  The originators - Assumed to be natural, but nothing proven either way.


The Living Dead.

"You all read the same email I did.  It said 'Zombies.'" ~ UN Delegate.

4a.  Dead - Yes.
4b.  Rising from the grave - Did not happen.
4c.  Instant decay - The dead's eyes instantly change and veins appear.
4d.  Origin - The search for the origin is the part of the plot.
4e.  Spread - Bite, removal of teeth is said to stop the spread.
4f.  Rudimentary IQ - Drawn to sound.  The virus seems to give them the ability to recognise people with terminal disease.
4g.  Rudimentary speech - A screeching sigh
4h.  Lost memory - No sign of any memory.
4i.  Slow/Shambling - Fast moving.
4j.  Swarms - Major swarms.
4k.  Stealth zombies - Not really, but they do go "dormant" without "stimulation." 
4l.  Feeding - Seem to attack/bite people, but no sign they are trying to eat them.
4m.  Destroy the brains - Soldiers recommend head shots, though, but shots to the body sometimes slow them down a lot (sometime don't do anything).  They also need to be burnt to ashes.  Body parts left over without a head are shown still moving.  
4n.  Exploding heads - Gerry Lane crushes a zombie's head with his foot.
4o.  The Z Word - The use of the word "zombie' is a major plot point.  Soldiers use the term "zeke."


The Living.

"Every human being we save is one less human to fight." ~ Jurgen Warmbrunn.

5a.  Individuals - Starts with Gerry Lane and his family.
5b.  Group of survivors - Heading that way at the beginning, but goes in a different direction.
5c.  Characters - The main group will include:
  • The hero - Gerry Lane.
  • The heroine Karin Lane, Gerry's wife (but safe most of the film.)
  • The bossy guy Speke or the Ex-CIA Agent.  But only briefly for either.
  • Bossy guy's female companion - Does not appear.
  • The secondary hero - Segen.  The female version of the secondary hero.
  • The weepy girl - Does not appear.
  • Child - Rachel & Constance Lane, Gerry's children (but safe most of the film.)
  • The crazy guy - The Ex-CIA Agent.  Perfect example.
  • Unbeliever The UN Delegates, probably.
  • The gang leader - A couple of characters, possibly.
5d.  Man is the real monster - Barely touched on.
5e.  Steep learning curve - People keep saying Gerry already has skills.
5f.  Final Girl and Final Guy - Gerry Lane & Segen sort of act this way, but there are many other survivors.



"Because the guy who just shot himself, he's a doctor, a virologist." ~ Gerry Lane.
"What are you talking about?" ~ Captain Speke.
"He was supposed to be our best hope." ~ Gerry Lane.
"Well, he's not our best hope anymore." ~ Captain Speke.

6a.  Standing around talking for no reason when endangered - Seems to mostly avoid this, although suffers a little from it when the zombies go over the Israeli wall.
6b.  Grieving - Doesn't seem to happen.
6c.  Making accidental noises - The phone ringing while they're trying to be quiet is an obvious example.  Chanting at the wall in Israel. Stepping on glass at the WHO facility.
6d.  Being unable to smell decaying flesh - Doesn't seem to be an issue.
6e.  Engaging hand-to-hand combat with zombies - Mostly avoided, but Gerry does so successfully.
6f.  Hiding secret bite - No one does this.
6g.  Unwilling to kill the bitten - Gerry Lane saves an Israeli soldier by cutting off her hand.
6h.  Unwilling to kill the undead - Doesn't really happen.
6i.  In-fighting - Not in-fighting but Gerry Lane does need to explain himself everywhere he goes.
6j.  Fighting at all - Not an issue.
6k.  Having sex - Doesn't happen.
6l.  Being cowardly - A couple of characters die in this way, especially young scientist Andrew Fassbach.
6m.  Betraying the group - Doesn't happen.
6n.  Going anywhere they shouldn't go in a slasher film
  • Down to the Basement - B-wing probably counts, it endangers those who go, but they survive.
  • Upstairs - Going into the apartment build would count, but they were able to get a helicopter to save them.
  • For a Shower - Doesn't happen.
  • Into old sheds or out buildings - Doesn't happen.
  • Running off to the “safety” of the forest - Doesn't happen.
  • Anywhere alone - Gerry is usually accompanied by someone.
  • Anywhere Remote, Isolated or Confined - Everywhere seems to fill this role.
  • Any Old, Abandoned or Presumably Haunted Buildings - Doesn't happen.
6o.  Relying on anything they shouldn't in rely on a slasher film
  • Communications devices - Seem to work pretty well, even with the breakdown of society.
  • Lighting - Seem to work pretty well, even with the breakdown of society.
  • Vehicular Transport - Cars stuck in traffic jam.  Zombies bring down a helicopter.  A plane crashes.
  • Their Own Legs - Joanie trips.
  • The Authorities - The authorities mostly fall apart quickly, but the remains are fairly helpful.
  • Weapons – Mentions of ammunition issues, but weapons work fine.  Gerry does spend too much time pulling one from a corpse, though.
  • Escape Routes - A few but they're usually good.
6p.  Being over-confident - Gerry seems to be but gets away with it.  The Israelis and are punished for it.
6q.  Making a plan that is too complex - The plans are mostly simple, they just constantly change.
6r.  Making a plan - Pretty much fine.
6s.  Assume they're safe - Behind the wall in Israel.  On the plane.
6t.  Be happy - No one seems to be.
6u.  Just one last thing - Doesn't seem to happen.
6v.  Never assume anyone or anything is dead - Doesn't seem to happen.


Standard Plot.

"Malnutrition. Dirty water.  No gas for the winter or transportation.  No bullets to fight.  And it has spread to all corners of the globe."Thierry Umutoni.

This film breaks away from the standard plot, changing from a group of survivors trying to stay alive to a hero traveling the world to find a cure.

7a.  Normal life - Starts out so.
7b.  Sudden outbreak - Seems so to the characters when it happens.
7c.  Meetings - A few scenes seem to be heading that way but end up going no where
7d.  Civilisation will collapse - Happens very quickly everywhere but Israel.
7e.  Looting becomes scavenging - Occurred immediately.
7f.  Gangs/bandits/cannibals - Doesn't happen.
7g.  Finding a place to hole up - Given the chance, Gerry refuses to do this in the city.  The ship he and his family are flown to counts.
7h.  Avoiding contecting to people - Sort of.
7i.  Suicidal - Doesn't really happen.  .
7j.  Undead loved-ones - Not covered.
7l.  Limited food/water/bullets - The soldiers .
7m.  Escape from a place - Forced to escape from Israel.
7n.  Armoured vehicle - The soldiers seem to have one.
7o.  Don't let me turn/save a bullet - Speke shoots himself when he is bitten.
7p.  Injury - Segen is injured as slowed down for a while.  Gerry is badly wounded in a plane crash and slowed down (helped by Segen) but heals really quickly.
7q.  Heroic sacrifice - No.
7r.  Death of the last survivor - The hero survives and is reunited with his family.


There will be social commentary.

"People have been building walls there for two millennia." ~ Gerry Lane.
"Right. Yeah, but, finish all those thousands of years of work a week ago?"
Impeccable timing is all.

8a.  We are already zombies - Not covered.
8c.  Racism - Not really addressed, although poorer parts of the world seem harder hit.
8d.  Working together - Various.  A couple of times Gerry Lane survives at the expense of others, but survives other times by working with people.  He does say people should help each other at the end.
8e.  Man is the real monster - Implied, but never fully addressed.  Gerry's family is only kept on the ship while he is able to help.
8f.  Zombies are people, too - Does not happen.
8g.  Other - The Israelis building a wall could be political commentary, but they are letting people in.  Could be something in First Class trying to defend itself from Economy in the plane.


There is no happily ending.

"This isn't the end.  Not even close." ~ Gerry Lane.

9a.  Downer ending - Bittersweet ending.  He's back with his family and the world's fighting back.
9b.  Sudden end - Quick, but not sudden.
9c.  Disaster porn - Flashes of the zombie war across the globe, so, yeah.
9d.  No cure - The hero discovers a "camouflage" something that stops the zombies attacking people.  It is called a vaccine a couple of times, but Gerry specifically states that it's "It's not a cure. It's camouflage."

RULE #10


"Be prepared for anything.  Our war has just begun." ~ Gerry Lane.

10a.  Sequels - A sequel will be released next year, originally it was planned as a trilogy.
10b.  Remakes - Very recent film, no remakes yet.
10c.  Adaptations - Very loosely based on the novel of the same name.

Extra.  Versions - There is a Unrated Director's Cut included extra scenes and more blood.


"The President is dead. Four of six joint chiefs, VP missing. Reports of gunbattles in the streets of the capital." ~ Thierry Umutoni.

  • Rules that are followed in this film:  1, 4, 6.
  • Rules that are partially followed, or not clear, in this film:  3, 5, 7, 9, 10.
  • Rules not followed by the film:  2, 8.

~ DUG.

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