I entered Zombieland 10 minutes into the movie after waiting for about a half hour in what I now think could possibly have been the wrong “special screening” lineup. Apart from that rough start, I can’t find a thing to complain about. Well, this isn’t really a complaint, but the film was so much fun, I wish it were twice as long as its short-but-sweet 80-minute run time.
Zombieland’s title says it all. Humankind has fallen prey to the Zombie virus. To paraphrase Zombieland’s narrator Columbus’s (Jesse Eisenberg) explanation: “Mad Cow became Mad Human, and Mad Human became Zombie.” We join Columbus and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) on their journey through our ravaged, post apocalyptic world. Columbus is a cowardly nerd boy whose life goals include finding his family (which resides in Columbus, Ohio) and brushing a girl’s hair behind her ear. Tallahassee is a crazed (edited from half-crazed), bad-ass zombie-killing machine whose only goal in life is to find – and devour – a twinkie, though he also derives great joy from killing the shit out of zombies. The guys run into Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), a pair of con-sisters headed for Pacific Playland. Romance (awkward, in a typical Jesse Eisenberg fashion), laughs and awesome zombie deaths ensue.
Throughout the film, Columbus records rules for survival in Zombieland. The rules show up in text on the screen as they are demonstrated, which adds a comic book/video game-type feel to the movie (this is a good thing, trust me). The kills are creative, gory and hilarious. This is kind of ridiculous to say to anyone reading a zombie movie review, but if you’re squeamish, this may not be the movie for you. If, on the other hand, you like seeing zombies suck the marrow out of bones, or perhaps slurp the shit out of intestines (it was one of the two, unfortunately I couldn’t really discern the body parts amongst the gore), Zombieland is for you!
The film’s zombies are fast, mean and hungry. They’re closer to 28 Days Later’s raging infected than they are to Romero’s staggering dead. I would compare the movie more with Shaun of the Dead though, because although the zombies are fast and relatively smart (by zombie standards), the tone of Zombieland is comedic, not terrifying.
What I love about this film – besides the creative kills and gut-busting laughs (pun intended) – is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Zombieland’s great sense of humor tempers what could be – as was in 28 Days Later – a legitimately sad situation. The world is gone to shit, our protagonists have lost their loved ones to the Zombie virus, and they still manage to “enjoy the little things,” as Tallahassee puts it.
In conclusion, if you haven’t already rushed out to see Zombieland, you should go see it right now.
P.S. Rovin has informed me that rumor has it Zombieland has THE BEST opening sequence ever. Of course, I couldn’t tell you that first hand. Thanks a lot Tinseltown.
Check out the trailer if you haven’t already: