Zombieland is a Hollywood take on the Zom-Com (zombie comedy) in the same vein as Shaun of the Dead and directed by newcomer Ruben Fleischer. Starring Woody ‘In His Element’ Harrelson, Jesse ‘Stop Comparing Me To Michael Cera’ Eisenberg, Emma ‘On A Roll Since Superbad’ Stone and child star Abigail ‘Expect To See Me In Everything’ Breslin, it’s the comic tale of surviving in a post-zombocalyptic America and if you’ve not heard of it you’re probably in the wrong place!
The story follows ‘Columbus’ (Eisenberg), an assumed name based on his home town and so called because it’s important not to become too attached to other people (see Rule #7 – Travel Light), who despite being an almost agrophobic geek has stayed alive when the rest of the world turned to zombie around him because he follows a set of rules. On the way back to Ohio to see if his parents are alive, he meets up with ‘Tallahassee’ (Harrelson) who’s survived by simply being a badass zombie killer and they agree to travel together for a time. Tallahassee has one weakness though.
Despite the fact everybody thinks Twinkies last forever (thanks to being made purely out of additives and colourings I assume) they actual do have an expiry date (about 25 days since you asked) so the pair detour into an out of town grocery store to find what may be the last box of Twinkies every to be enjoyed by man. After clearing out the store the guys meet ‘Wichita’ (Stone) and her little sister ‘Little Rock’ (Breslin) who set up a con to relieve the guys of the equipment and car.
The guys eventually catch up with the girls and, after a stand-off of sorts, agree to travel together. Wichita is taking Little Rock to an amusement park they once went to; with no other family it was the last place they were happy together and they’ve heard that there are no zombies out there. The movie then continues it’s amusing road trip (complete with that cameo you may have heard about) before the group split up again, but as you can imagine the lights and sounds of an amusement park are bound to attract some zombie attention…
Zombieland writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese initially conceived Zombieland as a TV pilot but after taking it to CBS and subsequently everyone else back in 2005, nobody was willing to make it as a show. So they worked on it a bit more and produced the film script that is now Zombieland… and I’m glad they did.
Zombieland is great fun from start to finish, packed full of humerous scenes and witty dialogue but not in the same forced way Diablo Cody, all the laughs are natural and at times hilarious. The movie drops your right into the action with Columbus avoiding zombies by following his rules.
The rules themselves are both a comic and visual treat, appearing right in amongst the action while conveying exactly why the rule came about. There are at least 32 rules but we only see about a dozen, betraying slightly it’s TV origin, though with a sequel heavily hinted at (not in the movie, it’s wrapped up quite satisfactorily, but in interviews) then hopefully we’ll eventually see them all.
The zombies themselves are convincing, great make-up and are played right, as just a mindless danger to set the story off against. The casting is brilliant and while much is made of Harrelson’s return to form, this could be the role that sees Eisenberg step out from Michael Cera’s shadow.
While the story is fairly light (though action, romance and comedy are all in there) the only ‘horror’ film Paul Wernick had seen before was actually Shaun of the Dead and this perhaps helped him and Reese avoid any genre conventions of stupid mistakes by the characters.
While it’s not perfect, I can’t recommend Zombieland enough, it delivered a laugh out loud comedy that I decided to buy when it was out as soon as I left the cinema. Go see it!
Zombieland Review courtesy of Zombie Command.