World War Z’s opening salvo is terrific. “World War Z,” which was directed by Marc Forster from a much-worked-over script by a large team of writers, doesn’t traffic in the kind of gratuitous gore for which zombie flicks are known and loved. Director Marc Forster plays the sequence beautifully, keeping the monsters virtually unseen and making the chaos unnerving in itself. The suspenseful opening sequence will send shivers down your spine. The film has fantastic special effects, especially in scenes involving aerial views of zombies flooding the roads, crawling on top of each other to climb walls or attack helicopters and chase down Gerry and his family. The family track in the film seems futile. The film is cruising, and then it feels like you’ve run into a brick wall, with no way to surpass it. And for a film ostensibly about zombies, we see very few of them up close (which is a pity, because the makeup job on their dried-out skin, bloody lips, and dead eyes is pretty incredible), and we don’t really understand why countries are behaving the way they are.

World War Z Movie Review

It’s undeniably effective to see thousands of them descend upon their prey, all the while screeching like velociraptors and chomping their teeth. It’s strong stuff. But it also sets the tone for what to expect in terms of gore, or lack of it. Flash forward several decades and you have World War Z: a huge-budget summer release, starring one of Hollywood’s biggest and handsomest names, that sets out to actually show a worldwide assault by the undead.

“World War Z” may not break new ground in either of the genres it straddles. Pitt, who produced “World War Z” after optioning the book by Max Brooks, does his best to inject a note of serious global consciousness into what can be read as both an outlandish horror fantasy and a flattering portrait of brave and handsome self-sacrifice.

So “World War Z 2”-I wouldn’t bet on it. World War Z adds some good ideas to a genre that really needs them, but fails to make me really care about what’s going on. World War Z is not the complete, absolute disaster tales of its production suggested may come to pass (what with an entirely reshot third act). Like it or not-and I don’t love it-World War Z does get under your skin. However, if you are a fan of the genre and extreme destruction and survival get your adrenaline flowing, this one’s highly engaging. In particular, horror fans jonesing for grand-scale carnage are unlikely to come away entirely satisfied. Check out our roundup of what other films are opening this week.