Zombie movies are as old as cinema itself, kicking off with 1930s hits like 'White Zombies' and 'The Devil's Daughter'. The genre came to mainstream prominence with George A. Romero's 'Night of the Living Dead' in 1968, after which the undead onslaught has been fairly unceasing. But a subset is just as venerable: the zombie comedy, or zom-com, can trace its roots back to 1941's 'King of the Zombies' and 1945's 'Zombies on Broadway'. More recent examples include Peter Jackson's 'Braindead' (1992) and 'Zombieland' (2009).

Dane DeHaan and Aubrey Plaza star in 'Life After Beth'
Dane DeHaan and Aubrey Plaza star in 'Life After Beth'

The most memorable recent zom-com is obviously Edgar Wright's 'Shaun of the Dead' (2004), which introduced a further sub-genre: the zom-rom-com. This paved the way for the likes of the Spanish romp 'Juan of the Dead' (2010), 'Warm Bodies' (2013) and 'All Cheerleaders Die' (also 2013).

More: Watch the trailer for 'Life After Beth'

This year's 'Life After Beth' carries on this tradition, stirring in some actual horror beats along with the knowing pastiche and wacky comedy. But what sets this one further apart is its roots in the teen movie genre, mashing-up references to classics like 'Mean Girls' and 'Pretty in Pink' with an unfolding zombie apocalypse.

More: Look at the red carpet photographs for 'Life After Beth' at Sundance

Filmmaker Jeff Baena has also knowingly cast hot young stars in the lead roles, including Dane DeHaan ('The Amazing Spider-man'), Aubrey Plaza ('Parks and Recreation'), Anna Kendrick ('Pitch Perfect') and Matthew Gray Gubler ('500 Days of Summer'). Each of them knowingly sends up characters from both zombie movies and teen comedies, which allows Baena to make a movie that's funny, emotional and scary, often all at the same time.