Action (Comedy, Zombie, Horror)
Running Time: 88 minutes
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Amber Heard
Directed By: Ruben Fleischer
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
A man travels cross country to see his parents. The problem is the world is in the midst of a zombie apocalypse and he doesn’t know if they are even alive still.
It is no secret that I have a love for all things zombies (Yeah yeah insert obligatory ex-girlfriend joke here.) It is the reason I can sit through zombie films shot on a 2 dollar budget. People laugh when I bring up that the zombie apocalypse will happen in our lifetime and all I can do is nod and smile as I picture shooting a crossbow bolt into their Zed cranium. Zombieland is the story of the world during a full blown zombie apocalypse. It follows the story of a guy named Columbus as he travels cross country to see if his parents are still alive. Along the way he meets some unique characters and not really together they try and survive the zombie hordes.
Bottom line is you need to watch this film. Any movie where a lead character says "Nut up or shut up" must be viewed in my mind. George A. Romero is the godfather of zombie films and Shaun of the Dead is the originator of the Zombie Comedy (Zom Com). I know people will throw many examples of other zombie comedies that predate Shaun but you are just being obtuse and nerdy if you do so. Now we find ourselves with the movie Zombieland and I couldn’t have been more impressed and entertained with it. The movie starts and right off the bat you know this film is going to be great. It has a quick intro to the character Columbus and a few of his many rules to survive the apocalypse. From there you are presented with a clip with cast introductions where you see zombies chasing people in everyday life. It might have been my favorite part of the movie. Zombies in three legged races, bride zombies, stripper zombies, and many others are all chasing down humans in slow motion to take a bite of flesh. It just sets the tone of the film and was an ingenious start. From there we follow Columbus as he details how he has survived so long in a world where everyone else is either dead or a walking corpse. His numbered rules of survival are not only practical but show up in the background as he enforces them. This film never lets the viewer down. When it isn’t making you laugh out loud like when a fatty tries to outrun a zombie on a football field, it has the blood and gore element down like when a guy has his guts ripped out in the toilet.
Columbus is played by Jesse Eisenberg and I was skeptical when I heard that but not anymore. He is a fantastic lead and his delivery and zombie rule book make this movie flow perfectly. His sidekick Tallahassee is played by Woody Harrelson and if ever there is a perfectly played role than this is it. He is this red neck, gun loving, Zombie killing maniac who is just cruising the country looking for Twinkies. After the two of them meet and become quasi partners the film never falters. The two polar opposite personalities talk about life and love and in this relationship there is humor in almost every sentence. There is something so resplendent in a homicidal maniac and a neurotic dork teaming up to kill zombies. They meet two girls on the road named Wichita and Little Rock played by Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin. These two characters are incidental in making this film good or not. Sure they don’t detract from the story and add some comedic plotlines but Eisenberg and Harrelson are so good together that the women are merely extras in this film. There is also a fantastic cameo in this movie that you will not want to miss.
The film continues on its entertaining path and the viewer is blessed with Tallahassee taking a perverse pleasure in killing zombies in unique ways. Everything from baseball bats to musical instruments is used to kill the walking dead and he is quite proficient at it. A film where people try to kill zombies in interesting ways to pass the time and win something called the “zombie kill of the week” is genius in my books. The film does take the obvious love story angle and sometimes can lose focus at times but that can all be forgiven by the time the ending rolls around. The ending somehow doesn’t disappoint as everyone has to battle a vast horde of zombies. Liberal amounts of blood is splattered everywhere and the viewer is left sated in nearly every category in regards to this film. There are copious amounts of jokes, zombie kills, zombie rules, funny situations, and the film is never slow.
Director Ruben Fleischer takes a hilarious script (Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick) and makes one of the best zombie films ever produced. His casting is perfect and supported well with a great cameo. The humor never seems out of place even when they are fighting for their lives. He uses great camera work especially the slow motion opening credits and a scene where they trash a Native American themed trade store. The ending somehow lives up to the awesomeness that is the rest of the movie and that is hard to do. It is just a great job on his first full length feature.
I give this movie a huge recommendation but especially to zombie enthusiasts. A search for Twinkies has never been so laugh out loud funny.
T Factor + If you like zombie movies then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you do not like Jesse Eisenberg then this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Shaun of the Dead, Juan of the Dead.