Debut in Zombies

"This Place is so Dead."

October is here again and Halloween just a matter of weeks away. So what better way to start off the season of tricks and treats than with a horde of ravenous, rampaging zombies?

Zombieland follows the story of multi-phobic, WOW-playing teenager Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) as he struggles to survive the hellish wasteland that the U.S. has become following the outbreak of a zombie-creating virus. Shortly, he meets up with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a simple, twinkie-loving man with a nevertheless tragic past, who continuously preaches the need to simply appreciate the little things in life. The little things for him including beating zombies to death with a banjo—and pretty much anything else he can get his hands on. Once they team up with con artist sisters Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and Wichita (Emma Stone), they rely on each other to not only survive the zombie hordes, but to reach a little place called Pacific Wonderland.

The film never tries to take itself too seriously, which is a must. It’s not like 28 Days Later or Night of the Living Dead—the grotesque horror of the situation is twisted and overshadowed by the sheer comedy the protagonists make of it. From neurotic Columbus’s rules of Zombieland to Tallahassee’s continual search for the world’s last Twinkie and the running debate on “zombie kill of the week,” the movie constantly barrages you with a host of comical situations amidst the blood and devastation.

And there is blood. Lots of blood. If you’re squeamish, this probably isn’t the movie for you, because they don’t skimp. Then again, would you expect any less from a zombie film?

The humor is as much in the characters themselves as the situations they find themselves in. This movie is less about a zombie apocalypse itself and more about four people’s attempt to survive it. Each has a background that has helped make them into the lovable characters they are today.

The relationships between them are golden, despite a few initial setbacks. Shotguns are not a nice way to begin a relationship with anyone.  Despite vastly different personalities, the characters complement one another with every scene. They just work well together and it adds to the comedy. Toss in a budding teenage romance between Columbus and Wichita and you get cute, as well as funny. You laugh at the amazing things they do, but at the same time, you also become invested in their plight.

Woody Harrelson has a tendency to steal the show whenever he’s in a scene. His character is just incapable of hating. He has such simple dreams that are very amusing to watch play out and he’s a wealth of one-liners. Plus, he’s a badass. Eisenberg and Stone seem a good match as well, though, and their characters are every bit as entertaining on their own as they are stumbling through their romance with one another. They have chemistry.

Even Bill Murray has his moment, in a surprise cameo as himself.

There are some cringe-worthy scenes, of course. A bathroom scene seems particularly memorable to me—not for the squeamish. Nevertheless, there are also some truly creative methods of zombie killing shown and when you leave the movie you leave satisfied. This is director Ruben Fleischer’s first time directing a real Hollywood movie and I have to say, if this is what he can do, I look forward to seeing more from him in the future. He and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick manage to avoid cliché while giving us a hilarious entry into the zombie genre.

This is the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time. Everything works seamlessly and what we get is comic perfection. So, if you want to have yourself a good time, go see Zombieland. Bring your friends too, because this is a great movie that just gets better in groups, and it would be a terrible shame to miss it.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Watch the trailer:

~ by Chris G. on October 2, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: