It doesn’t matter what age you are, where you live, or what films you prefer, everyone has seen a zombie movie. What’s not to like? Most of these films have great action, lots of gore, and plenty of humor…it’s a match made in heaven…or hell (depending on your view of the undead.) It seems that everybody is always trying to reinvent the drama and bring us a new Dawn of the Dead, but it rarely works well. Does Zombieland fall victim to horrible film making, or does it beat the outbreak of lackluster zombie flicks?
The movie doesn’t bother with a slow start, they just throw you right into the flesh-eating fun. The opening credits show a slow-mo montage of people getting attacked by zombies, while Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls” plays in the background…to sum it up, it’s badass and it really puts you in the right mood for the next ninety minutes. The story revolves mainly around a college kid (Jesse Eisenberg) on his way back to Ohio to see if his family survived the zombie outbreak. The four characters in the film, are named upon which cities they come from, so his name is rightfully, Columbus. Now, Columbus is an overly cautious individual, so he lives his life according to a number of rules, and these rules have saved him throughout the outbreak. This constant reminder throughout the movie of every rule is a nice setup for the ending, when Columbus has to rise up and break some rules. Early on, Columbus runs into a man by the name of Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), who is pretty much your usual anti-hero type that doesn’t really care for much, and he just loves to take out his anger on the undead. I think the best thing about Tallahassee would be that he may seem rather shallow at the start of the film, but as the film unfolded, we actually see him evolve a little…something I didn’t really expect from a movie like this.
The final two characters, Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abagail Breslin), come into the mix and begin to complicate things for the somewhat simple Columbus and Tallahassee. All four of the survivors have some major trust issues, and these begin to elevate as the small group grows, and they find it hard to get out of that “trust nobody” survivalist mentality. The zombies themselves are great characters, because they aren’t your old-school, slow-poke zombies. Think 28 Days Later…they were fast and furious, which makes it funny to see this oddball group of people just completely lay waste to them.
One of the most crucial factors that will probably make you see this movie, would be the humor. It’s a special kind of humor, especially on Jesse Eisenbergs part. If you have ever seen Eisenberg in a film like Adventureland or The Squid and the Whale (my personal favorite), then you will already know that his awkwardness is a great punchline to a joke you didn’t even know you wanted to hear. Some of his most subtle lines had me in stitches throughout the movie. While the two girls couldn’t make you laugh if their life depended on it, Woody Harrelson was a pretty funny redneck; his search for Twinkies in this zombie wasteland really helped with keeping the movie lighthearted and goofy. About halfway through the movie, you get treated to probably the funniest fifteen minutes of the entire film. Tallahassee takes the group to a celebs house, and while I don’t wanna ruin the surprise, a hint would be that he is an actor from one of the best films of the ’80’s…Ghostbusters. While the ol’ Ghostbuster may be a bit rough around the edges, this small cameo shows that you just can’t beat the classic comedians.
Going into the movie, I expected a lot of the usual zombie film stuff, but Zombieland had a perfect mix of humor and action to make me one pleased movie-goer. The most obvious comparison that comes to mind is, which is better?…Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland? That question really depends upon taste, because I felt they were completely different types of movies. Shaun was a straight-up, love letter and parody to zombie films of yesteryear; while Zombieland felt like a fresh, zombie adventure with comedic elements, as well as a few “jump” moments. Regardless of tastes, both films are probably going to be in your top five list, anyways. Overall, this film was just a lot of fun to watch, and it does something many movies have been failing at lately; it entertains. From the moment the film opened, till the closing credits I was either laughing my ass off or enjoying the action. Zombie fans have already seen this, so there is no convincing there, but for people on the fence, this is one of the must-see movies of the fall. This was one of those few movies, I actually would like to see one more time before it leaves the theater…I guess you could say the fun of this film was pretty “infectious.” Bad pun?…Sorry, I’ll just finish off with these wise words: See Zombieland solely for the fact that when a zombie outbreak really does happen (and it will, trust me), the film will give you a few handy rules for ensuring your survival.