Story

Retired UN official Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) are taking their kids, Constance (Sterling Jerins) and Rachel (Abigail Hargrove), to school when they get stuck in a traffic jam heading into the city. Suddenly pandemonium strikes when explosions erupt, cars and trucks collide, and people run in all directions. The ‘zombie pandemic’ has arrived. Zombies are everywhere, attacking people and crashing into windscreens.

Gerry manages to get his family to a temporary safe house where he gets a call from the UN. The UN is desperate to get him back to fight the zombie pandemic. They send a helicopter to rescue him and his family. He and his family are taken aboard a troop ship. From there Gerry is sent all over the world to find a cure for the pandemic. At the same time, he must avoid succumbing to the ‘zombie’ virus.

Themes

Horror themes

Violence

This movie has a lot of violence but little blood and gore. For example:

  • Cars, trucks and motorbikes crash into each other.
  • Zombies crash into car windscreens.
  • A group of men attacks Karin in a supermarket.
  • People and police shoot at each other.
  • People fall from buildings.
  • Zombies run through the streets, attacking anyone in sight.
  • Zombies try to climb over the town walls and are shot down.
  • There are gun battles. Grenades are thrown at zombies.
  • A zombie bites a female soldier on the hand, so Gerry chops the soldier’s hand off to save her life.
  • Zombies attack people on a plane, which ends up with the plane crashing and only two people surviving.
  • Gerry has an object embedded in his abdomen.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that will scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • The zombies are frightening to look at. They have dried and cracked skin, bulging eyes and protruding teeth. They gnash their teeth at people.
  • When a zombie bites someone, the person has convulsions and turns immediately into a zombie.
  • There are dead bodies on a security fence.
  • A room full of dead skeletons is covered in ash. One of the dead hands is moving.
  • Bodies burn in a fire. 

From 5-8

Children in this group will also be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the violent and scary scenes mentioned above. 

Over 13

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the violent and scary scenes mentioned above. 

Sexual references

None of concern 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example, alcohol is used as an anaesthetic. 

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some mild sexual activity in this movie, including a scene where Gerry and Karin are in bed together, kissing and cuddling. 

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie: Pepsi and Mountain Dew. 

Coarse language

This movie has some coarse language. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

World War Z is based on a novel. It has a flawed plot with no explanation of how the zombie outbreak started and very little credibility overall, but its fast-paced action is likely to appeal to teenagers.

This movie’s M rating is well deserved. The violent and disturbing scenes are more intense when seen in 3D. Although it has less blood and gore than some other zombie movies, there is plenty to scare children under 13 years and even younger teenagers. It is therefore definitely not suitable for children under 13 years and not recommended for children under 15 years.

The main message from this movie is to keep going against all odds. You could talk with your children about Gerry’s sacrifice in leaving his family behind for the sake of saving humankind.