Movie Review: "Zombieland"

Screenwriters and executive producers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have created one wildly funny gore filled ‘zombiefied’ comedy horror!  Zombieland seemed to have so much potential with a great cast and awesome action, but I was afraid that the huge hype for this film would quickly crash a few minutes into the movie.  I am happy to state that Zombieland does live up to the hype and then some.  Dare I say that the movie should survive ‘Criticland’?

Directed by first time director Ruben Fleischer, Zombieland is not just a farce zombie movie, but a movie with true comedy and young romance with a touch of heart.  In order to achieve this, the filmmakers had to keep the world realistic while being able to strike classic zombie horror film moments without the audience double thinking the possibility of it all.  The zombie’s are outlandish and gross, but at all times it feels as they could really exist.  These aren’t your undead overly powerful zombies with super-human powers.  Instead, these flesh eating characters derive from a viral epidemic that causes humans to just want to eat other humans.  Ok ok, they don’t feel much pain, but for the most part they are very believable real-life zombies.

Columbus, JESSE EISENBERG (Advetureland), is our narrator for the film and lead character.  He is a young survivor of this post apocalyptic Earth now called ‘Zombieland’.  He is out to stay alive and he has his own list of rules in order to do so.  These rules are quite funny and the filmmakers do a fantastic job bringing them up throughout the movie as a small running joke.  They even bring up the rules in text form in several scenes making them appear apart of the scenery.  This is difficult to describe, but was a rather well done gimmick.  After learning of his rules, ie. “Always check the backseat”, and a few gruesome zombie kills to bring the tone of the film, Columbus comes face-to-face with another human in which he decides to hitchhike with toward home.  Tallahassee would be his name, WOODY HARRELSON, and is quite the opposite from our scared little wussy of a main character, Columbus.

Tallahassee is the fearless zombie-killing loving badass whose only weakness is to find Twinkies.  In fact, that seems to be his sole purpose left on Earth.  Columbus joins him on his journey as he is determined to get back to his hometown of none other than Columbus to see if his family is still alive.  Along the way, and an attempt to find Twinkies, the duo comes across two very independent young girls with plans of their own.  What the four must decide is whether joining forces to survive these man eating creatures is worth a chance of losing each other.

Zombieland is a place where it’s not smart to become close to one another as it may come time to kill the other if they become bit.  The characters don’t think it’s worth getting caught up with one another and would rather survive on their own.  However, Columbus quickly becomes smitten over the cute EMMA STONE known as Wichita.  She will do whatever it takes for her and her sister Little Rock, ABIGAIL BRESLIN (Little Miss Sunshine), to survive even if that may mean ditching the rest of the party.

Everyone is on search for their own happiness, but of course is challenged by many obstacles on their journey.  There are plenty of zombie kills and chases to be had on their road trip along with insane circumstances that one may find in Harold & Kumar go to White Castle or Superbad on their way to a party.  Sure it’s incredibly silly.  It’s justified though by the tone of the film.  Every ridiculous antic seems to fit within the world they live.  It is the situations and how they handle them that makes this such and funny film.

Harrelson’s character is interested in killing zombie’s every way possible and finds much joy in it.  This adds to hilarity while including “zombie kill of the week” and other great one-liners completing a very colorful character.  Harrelson’s and Eisenberg’s characters go deep, but unfortunately I feel we did not get to know enough of the other two.  The audience is meant to care a great deal towards these two girls in the latter part of the film except I never became attached.  Then again, the movie is more about the two guys and their transformation, (not into zombies), rather than the girls.

There is the romance story of course.  Obviously this involves Columbus and Wichita, which is the love story between two that weren’t meant to be but work because of circumstance.  Everything seemingly worked too well with each other and I’m still trying to figure out why it did.  All I know is that I was continuously laughing aloud and still ended up jumping back in my seat several times.

I don’t want to go here, but Zombieland does have the same humor and tone as Shaun of the Dead except with more gruesome kills and better action.  The effects were even quite good and convincing… for the most part at least.

The cast was a great choice too with completely different types of characters coming together against their difference.  However, you better like every character because you are stuck with them, and only them, for the whole film.  There is one amazing cameo as well that I will not lead to anything else other than saying it’s the funniest part of the film.

The gore is in the style of Quentin Tarantino and hides nothing.  The kills are absolutely gross and yet comical; at least to the decensortized audience of today.  The story is simple, but remains satisfying in the end.  Zombieland is short and to the point, and yet I never felt jipped.  This isn’t a film about the origins of the zombies or the solution to the infestation but rather the idea of gaining friendships over aloneness.

There really isn’t much else I can say other then Zombieland is downright fun and entertaining.  It’s violent and gory with a little sense of horror while remaining absolutely hysterical without alienating the audience from a quality movie.

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