"Thank God for rednecks." –- Tallahassee
I love zombies.
Just when I thought the zombie genre needed to lie low for a while from over-exposure, the rotting horde shows me they still have plenty of unlife left in them.
Zombieland succeeds by burying an undead tongue firmly in its cheek while also delivering the scares. I knew from the trailers the movie would have some laughs, but I didn’t expect it to be as funny or as serious as it is.
The movie begins with the best opening credits sequence since Watchmen, and a recap of the zombie apocalypse by our hero /narrator Columbus (Jesse “Cursed” Eisenberg). He's your typical nerd, a walking ball of neurosis, which makes him just paranoid and zombie-flick savvy enough to survive the zombie uprising.
As the movie progresses, he tells his rules for survival, which flash on screen in some very fun ways. They’re pretty good rules, such as number two: The Double Tap. When you’re not sure if the zombie is dead or not, don’t be stingy with the bullets.
Columbus is trying to get to Ohio when he runs into Tallahassee (Woody “A Scanner Darkly” Harrelson). Tallahassee comes up with the idea that they should call each other by where they’re from instead of their real names, that way it will be easier if one should have to dispatch the other after zombification.
Our leads make an interesting duo, Columbus a nervous geek and Tallahassee an over-the-top good old boy who delights in this rotting new world. But they compliment each other well in the usual "unlikely friends"” way. Zombieland was originally conceived as a pilot for a TV series, and the two fit right in with the other “guy and a guy” action shows.
As they travel, they run into Wichita (Emma “Superbad” Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail “Nim’s Island” Breslin), sisters who used to be con-artists before the world went all Dawn of the Dead. Well, the remake. The zombies in this movie are runners, too.
I am in the Slow Zombie camp of fandom. I agree with Romero, Simon Pegg and others that zombies are scarier when they’re an unstoppable, unrelenting, slow moving horde that will eventually catch and eat you. (Here's a response from the creator of Dead Set.)
However, after 28 Days Later, the Dawn of the Dead remake, and many, many, many games of Left 4 Dead, I’ve come to accept and appreciate the Fast Zombie. I still prefer the slow walkers, but I no longer think of the quick and the dead as a way to get new and cheap scares. Especially if they, as in Zombieland and Dead Set, turn people into walking happy meals.
It’s time for both camps to bury the issue (pardon the phrase) and come together into a rotting horde to face off the real threat to modern horror: the pasty, toothless teen romance vampire.
Back to our review, already in progress. Along the quest, the foursome has action, romance, humor, unexpected, intense drama, and something that I hope no one has spoiled for you, and I shall not do so here. This all leads to a nail biting climax in an amusement park, which has some of the most inventive zombie kills I’ve seen.
The movie It has a few places where the plot slows, but it kicks back up just before it feels like it's dragging its undead feet.
Woody Harrelson obviously has a ball playing bad-ass Tallahassee. It has a kick-ass soundtrack that has everyone from Metallica to Van Halen to Willie Nelson. It has an easy shot at being one of the best films of the year.
Zombieland is a great flick, and I highly recommend it to zombie nuts as well as fans of the action and comedy type-things.
It reminds me a lot of Shaun of the Dead, another zombie comedy that delivered on the undead action, and had a surprising amount of depth. Both films have unlikely and nerd-friendly heroes, great humor, some romance and they jerk on your heartstrings when least expected. And both have as much zombie carnage and gore as an R rating will allow. When this movie hits DVD, they would make one hell of a double feature.