Over the course of the last few months (with a slight break in between), I have been battling a zombie plague. The book, World War Z, fell into my possession quite by chance, as part of a deal in the book shop. It is not something I would normally read: Zombies are probably my least favourite of the supernatural, most likely because it is so hard to get them right. But Max Brooks manages just that.
Telling the story of the Zombie plague from beginning to end through a series of interviews, World War Z is very much a plot-driven story, despite revolving around the people involved. Very few of the characters interviewed appear again, and only the invisible interviewer is present throughout, although you never hear their own experiences throughout the war. It is a gripping book nonetheless. The zombies are menacing, and the wide-spread nature of the disease is plausible. The interviews vary a lot, in both fascination and emotional intrigue. There are characters which you can relate to and feel for more than others, with some truly heart-breaking and shocking stories. The style it is written in is nothing like I have encountered before, and that made it so much more unique and interesting for me.
Last week, I watched the movie. Starring Brad Pitt, World War Z the film, is hardly anything like the book. Some events are similar, as is the idea of a zombie plague engulfing the world. Other than that, the film is different. For starters, rather than telling the story through a number of different characters, the film only follows one in his quest to find a cure. If you ignore its supposed relation to the book, World War Z is good. Intense with plenty of moments to make you jump and scenes which allow a pause for breath, it is an action thriller that entertains. The ending is not great however; an anti-climax to what is otherwise a great film.
Overall I would recommend seeing the film without reading the book first, or at least leaving a long space of time between the two. The book is something you have to read, if anything to feel the realism that seeps from its pages despite it being about a Zombie invasion.
Book Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Film Rating: 3 out of 5 stars