Zombies Ate My Review
Get ready, everybody, because it’s finally here. The Big One. The Zombie Apocalypse. Most of Earth’s human population is either dead or infected with a horrible disease that makes them fast, ferocious, and hungry for flesh. Those still alive think they’re alone. The only thing left to do is survive.
Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg, fresh from Adventureland, playing pretty much the same character), a college student from Texas, has come up with a list of rules to make surviving just a little bit safer. On his way to Ohio to see if his parents are alright, he runs into Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), whose knack for zombie killing is surpassed only by his love of Twinkies. When they meet two girls, Wichita (Superbad’s Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Little Miss Sunshine’s Abigail Breslin), they find out a California amusement park may be the last zombie-free place on the planet. Can they trust each other enough to get there alive together?
Such is the basic premise of Zombieland, the latest film to cash in on the immense popularity of zombie fiction. These aren’t your average, mindlessly shuffling undead masses, though. Zombieland’s epidemic is the result of a disease, and the infected become tirelessly energetic (living) zombies filled with cannibalistic rage.
This sets the stage for some of funniest and most entertaining zombie kills to hit screens since 2004’s Shaun of the Dead. Shotguns, baseball bats, grand pianos, and more are used, often to hilarious effect, to take out the ravenous trash. Woody Harrelson’s Tallahassee, sure to be a horror fan-favorite for years to come, is especially notable for his twisted, zombie killing ingenuity.
The zombie killing hijinks get so crazy that if it weren’t for Ruben Fleischer’s skillful use of slow motion and computer generated special effects, Zombieland might be little more than absolutely ridiculous. Fleischer masterfully uses these effects to accentuate every cracked zombie skull and bloody shotgun blast, though, and it looks and sounds as good as a zombie can. From the gorgeous opening credits sequence to the very last zombie splat, this movie will impress your eyeballs.
Zombieland gets by on more than just pretty blood and breaking glass, though. The film’s small cast brings its characters to life and brings likability to the table in a genre that desperately needs relatable characters to work. Emma Stone and Jesse Eisenberg nail the post-apocalyptic chemistry between their two characters; and although I would have liked to see Eisenberg in a departure from his usual character type, I have to admit he plays the scrawny, sarcastic kid well.
And Woody Harrelson doesn’t miss a beat as Tallahasse, Zombieland's lovable Zed-ender. It’s impossible to miss how much fun Harrelson, who personally arranged his character’s wardrobe, has in this role as he spits out one-liners and takes time to “enjoy the little things,” smirking the whole time. Surprisingly, there’s more heart behind the Twinkie-obsessed zombie stomper than all the other characters combined. Just look out for his banjo.
Unfortunately, a few loose strings keep Zombieland from reaching its full potential. At the beginning of the film, we are given a set of characters with different goals and different ideas about survival. Without spoiling anything, I can say that a number of these goals are either forgotten or ignored by the time it’s all over. This won’t keep you from enjoying the movie at all, but it may leave a bad taste in your mouth after it’s done. Still, Zombieland is one film that seems perfect for repeat viewings, and in a world where PG-13 popcorn flicks spawn week after week, that makes it a valuable rarity.
The Verdict: There are no two ways about it. This movie is an absolute blast. From comedy and cursing to horror and gore, Zombieland has everything you could love about R rated movies. Zombies have rarely been this funny. See it twice, then start saving for the DVD.
3.5 stars (out of 4)