Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Writing credits: Paul Wernick, Rhett Reese
Plot: The Zombpocalypse has arrived, and a small group of survivors travels across the nation looking for safe haven.
Review: I'll be totally straight with you here. I love zombies, but I'm really starting to get sick of them. Every other horror movie seems to be a zombie flick these days, and most of them are completely unoriginal and do nothing to differentiate themselves from the horde. I'm pleased to say however, that Zombieland was tremendous fun. It doesn't take itself seriously at all, which makes it a welcome change from most zombie flicks, but there's also just enough drama to remind you that this is a horrible apocalyptic near-future, despite all the laughs you'll be having.
Woody Harrelson plays "Tallahassee", the most awesome character to ever appear in a zombie movie in the history of zombie movies (I challenge anyone to dispute that claim). In a genre where most of the human characters reveal themselves to be incompetents or assholes, it was refreshing to see a confident character who kicks ass and takes plenty of names. You never once worry for his survival, even when he's got a mob of two hundred angry undead sprinting after him--the movie makes it clear that you never need to. He proudly joins Ashley J. Williams in the Hall of Badass Horror Heroes. There's something immensely satisfying about seeing a character responding to a horrific situation with confidence and ass-kicking rather than fear.
Jesse Eisenberg plays his straight man counterpart, "Columbus" (all the characters use their city of origin as nicknames, as they don't want to get too attached), and it's from his point of view that we view the Zombieland that has become the United States (and the world, according to the beginning narration). He's as neurotic, anal-retentive and nervous as Tallahassee is carefree and confident. My friend Sam initially thought of him as a "poor man's Michael Cera", but he holds his own pretty well by the end of the film (though he does seem kind of like a bit of a cross between Cera and Andy Samberg--he could be their lovechild, if he wasn't approximately the same age).
Rounding out the human cast are two sisters, "Wichita" (played by Emma Stone) and "Little Rock" (Abigail Breslin), who is an extremely talented actress for someone so young. It is a little hard to believe that two characters who manage to cleverly trick Tallahassee and Columbus several times throughout the movie could do something so incredibly stupid toward the end. I suppose when the Zombpocalypse rolls around people would tend to act a little nutty from time to time, though creating what essentially amounts to a death trap for oneself is going a little far (considering that these characters showed remarkable survival instincts before that).
While not as gory as some more horrific zombie movies, the film still doesn't exactly shy away from showing viscera here and there, and there's enough blood barf to fill a swimming pool with. Much of the violence is as comical as it is brutal, never letting the audience forget that this flick is ultimately meant to be fun. And it is. It also features what is probably my favorite cameo appearance in any movie ever, and I'm not going to spoil who the actor is here because it's just too awesome. I will just tell you that they played themself, and obviously had a lot of fun doing it.
The amusement park setting for the final big action sequence is one of the most fun ones I've seen in a zombie movie, or for that matter, any movie (who wouldn't want to shoot zombies while riding a roller coaster?). It was so creatively utilized that I'm sure we're going to see it repeated again and again in future movies that won't come close to capturing the spirit of fun here. This movie isn't perfect--some of the jokes fall flat, and sometimes the characters make choices that don't make sense, but you couldn't ask for a more enjoyable time, and this proudly joins the ranks of Fido and Shaun of the Dead as a great zombie comedy.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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