Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Movie Review: Zombieland

Why is it that zombies seem to be the only monster in the horrorverse that make the best butts of jokes for horror comedy films? There are a few funny vampire movies out there, but they don't seem to work as well as funny zombie movies. Sorry to curse, but GODDAMN I waited too fucking long to see this movie. What's wrong with me?

Zombieland takes place after a zombie apocalypse and follows a survivor, Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), trying to make it back home to find his parents. He soon meets up with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a man who has adapted well to the plague of zombies and thoroughly enjoys killing them by any means. They are both trying to get to their respective namesakes until trouble arises in the form of Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). Columbus comes to like Wichita, which complicates things as the girls constantly swindle the boys for their own advantages.

First of all, the opening credits were quite enjoyable. Two thumbs up for that little bit.

Zombieland was for shizz a great zombie horror comedy. It runs a very close second to Shaun of the Dead as being the best out there (one more bad-mouth comment about Shaun of the Dead and I will personally feed you all to the zombies myself when they take over the world). Most importantly, this is the kind of humor that I like. Play-on-words comedy, references to pop culture, and dry, sarcastic comments. I don't know why, but I found it exceedingly hilarious when Columbus announced that he had to "take the Browns to the Super Bowl."

Do I even need to mention how funking glorious Woody Harrelson is in, like, pretty much anything? Especially love his comedy roles because he is hi-larious. The perfect Tallahassee: lots of kick-assedness, unapologetic redneck goodness to be had here. Jesse Eisenberg... yes, he seems to have bit from everything about the dude who played Bleeker in Juno, but I don't give a shit. He was good at what he did and he made me laugh. Abigail Breslin I adore from Little Miss Sunshine, and she's getting better. I see a really good actress emerging.

I don't think I even have to mention the scenes with Bill Murray. So awesome. I loved the part where they were playing Ghostbusters just like I used to do with my cousins as a kid. Ah, memories. They had the proton packs and the trap, everything but the jumpsuit. It was killer.

The film is oddly not exactly plot-driven. There is a basic plot - they all want to go to the place that has no zombies - but it's decidedly pretty thin. The movie seems to be about something else. Comedy films usually have a touch of heart to them, and this is no exception. Every character seems to be looking for something in this new Zombieland to help them get over what they have lost in the crisis and learn to accept things as they are.

In the hands of comedy writers, this idea manifests itself in, for instance, Woody's character Tallahassee on a constant search for a Twinkie (did you notice the parallel of the Twinkie scene from Ghostbusters? I did). He's not really looking for a Twinkie. Well, he is, but it's what the Twinkie represents. Oh, gosh, stop me if I'm going overboard. He lost his son, so everything good about the world had basically been taken away from him. If he gets his Twinkie, then there's still a bit of happiness and goodness left in the world.

Columbus is a caring but shy guy who in the past avoided people because they basically ignored him. Like he says at the end, he's found a new family in this gang of zombie-killing misfits because they accept him for who he is and he feels like he has a place in the world.

Or maybe not. Maybe I'm looking too much into it.

The only nitpick is maybe some of the earlier scenes go on a little long, when they don't really add anything to the plot. Mostly, the scene of Columbus's encounter with 406. I felt like that whole part was a little out of place.

Gore fans don't despair! Too much. The zombie people-eating is fairly good in Zombieland. Nice make-up and gore, although nothing really that memorable. I like the idea of the Zombie Kill of the Week. Banjo-smashing was pretty good, but they really could have come up with WAY more interesting ways to kill zombies than we saw in this movie. Where's the ingenuity?

Good fun film! Yea! Me likey.


  1. Great review. Don't normally go for the zombies but maybe I will see this!:)

  2. I'm-a have to disagree with you on this one, my esteemed horror sister. ZOMBIELAND for me represented a quick, commercial bastardizing of horror that severely reduced any of the real impact of what zombies -used- to be and simply made them the tertiary backdrop to another SUPERBAD-style teen romantic comedy... and one that wasn't even that funny. Woody Harrelson conducted himself well, and I'll admit that Bill Murray was fun, but the movie itself lacked anything even resembling horror substance or comedic originality, and I honestly felt that the gore was even a let-down... an adequate amount of plain ol' blood but no real impressive gut-wrenching stuff.

    For the record, I do love SHAUN OF THE DEAD muchly, and sorta wished I had skipped the theatrical release of ZOMBIELAND and just stayed home & watched SHAUN again instead... oh, and I have a new neighbor guy who's cat is named after Shaun. :)

  3. @J. Astro - Oh yes, I definitely understand how you could get that feeling from the movie. That was sort of in the back of my mind too. It's not really a zombie movie, but a teen comedy. It worked for me, although I can see how other horror fans might be put off by it.

  4. yes, absolutely great zomedy. not as brilliant as 'Shaun' but it comes pretty close