Zombieland, Dir. Reuben Fleischer

Posted: October 15, 2009 by Adam in Film Reviews
Tags: , , , , ,


So this is nice, for the first time in over a month I am sitting at my laptop without a mass of law notes waiting to be typed up!

To start with I’ll lay down my position on zombies and zombie films… I HEART them…bad! Forget vampire films with their androgynous, pasty male leads, ghost films with seriously creepy children and slasher films with screaming teens running from a crazed murderer; you just can’t beat a good zombie flick. As Shaun of the Dead taught us they don’t even have to be serious to be good, zombies can do comedy or ‘zomedy’ just as well.

Zombieland is set in post-zombie outbreak USA, where we are quickly introduced to one of the main characters, Columbus (Jessie Eisenberg). We discover that he has managed to survive the zombie outbreak by being a friendless, neurotic loser. Early on we also find out that he has several ‘rules’ which have helped him stay alive so long, but more about those later. He eventually meets up with another survivor, Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), and the two slowly form an unlikely partnership. Tallahassee is the polar opposite of Columbus; he has only two interests, killing zombies and Twinkies, whereas Columbus just wants to brush a girls hair and not die. The two eventually meet up with two girls, Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who prove to be just a little bit untrustworthy. I won’t go on or else I might spoil the plot, but I will say that there is a fantastic cameo appearance by a comedy legend who steals several of the films biggest laughs.

There are so many good parts to Zombieland that it’s hard to talk about them without sounding scarily over enthusiastic. The comedy is consistent throughout and never feels forced, with Harrelson and Eisenberg working really well together. The film is able to take you from scared, to laughing, to sad in seconds and never loses pace as a result. Eisenberg incidentally is having a very good year with both Zombieland and Adventureland being highlights of the year so far. It just a pity for Eisenberg that some people confuse him with Michael Sera, which I can understand as they do have the same style of acting.

The film has drawn many comparisons with the book ‘The Zombie Survival Guide’, by Max Brooks. The book is a tongue in cheek manual to surviving a zombie apocalypse. Many of Columbus’s ‘rules’ are in line with the key points in the manual, although for those of you that have read the guide, Columbus fails to take proper precautions and carry a machete at all times. Some of the Columbus’s ‘rules’ are amazing as they are things that I have often discussed with friends before as being annoying mistakes that people make consistently in horror films, such as ‘always check the backseat’ and ‘don’t be a hero’. Sounds obvious but they are mistakes people in horror films just keep on making, and they just don’t seem to learn from them! The ‘rules’ appear written on screen, however this manages to never feel gimmicky but rather often acts to enhance some of the films funnier moments.

There is very little to criticise about this film as it generally ticks all the boxes for length, consistent humour, involving story etc. However, if I was going to nit pick I would say that I don’t think the title is accurate, these aren’t traditional zombies in fact they are more akin to the ‘infected’ in 28 Days Later. As a result I think the film probably should have been called Infectedland or Fastzombiesnottheslowonesland, although I think it might have been harder to market that title. The open ending kind of annoys me as it most likely means there will be a sequel, which you just know won’t be as good as the first film, but I’ll wait until I see it before I get too angry.

In short, go see this I can’t rate it highly enough, if you don’t laugh all the way through it’s probably because you’re infected or undead.



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