Written by: jmh314
Sometimes a film comes along in the horror community that you can just tell is going to be one hell of a ride. Over the top characters, funny dialog, and an entertaining premise show through well before it's release. Zombieland is exactly everything you would expect based on any trailers, commercials, synopsis, etc etc. The story is pretty self explanatory but it's execution is what makes the film such a fun experience. From start to end Zombieland is filled with laughs, plenty of gore, and unpredictable characters that will leave viewers wanting more. Sit down, buckle up, and prepare for the ride because Zombieland is a sidesplitting and fright inducing adventure.
Zombieland opens with Colombus narrating at state of the zombie apocalypse. We see what happened when the outbreak occurred as he narrates the scenario's and gives the rules he follows in order for survival. When we catch up to Colombus on the road he is still following his self-imposed rules for susrvival when he comes across the first living human he has seen in some time. Tallahassee is on the road in a big bruising truck when he encounters Colombus on the road but decides to give him a ride. Colombus is trying to get to his family in Ohio and Tallahassee is a bit of a loaner and heading for Florida.
With Colombus and Tallahassee now together on the road, their chances of survival are a little better. Colombus' obsessive and conservative approaches are a bit laid back for Tallahassee who wants nothing more than to just destroy zombies and find some Twinkies.
During Tallahassee's quest to find some Twinkies, the guys encounter a pair of sisters who soon take them hostage and are looking to get to an amusement in California called Pacific Playland that is rumored to be zombie-free. While the girls have trust issues with the guys, they will do whatever it takes to survive while Wichita tries to get her younger sister Little Rock to California so she can be a kid again. There is no doubt that Colombus, Talahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock are one of the oddest couples in a war of survival but they all share a common bond: wanting to stay alive. But can they overcome their differences or will they drive each other apart and to a death they all have fought too hard to avoid.
The premise is quite simple and plays out like part National Lampoons Vacation meets zombie comedy. The characters all bring something different to the table as they all have different motives for survival. Colombus hopes to find his family if they are alive, Tallahassee wants twinkies and revenge for his dog, and the sisters want to stay together forever while remembering fun times before the zombie madness.
The FX in the film are quite good. The zombie makeup is really well put together as all the zombies have some commonality but are grotesque and vicious in their own ways. There is a LOT of blood and is a good blend of classic FX and CGI gore. While not always as graphic as it could be with the camera panning away a few times or implying what happened, there is still lots of red stuff for zombie fans to enjoy. There are a plethora of guns and various household weapons used that spices things up a little bit and provides for some entertaining zombie head hunting.
The music really adds to the film as it's rock anthems and songs drive much of the action and entertainment further forward and pumps you up. The script is very witty and plays to all the characters strengths. The humor is not in-your-face or over-the top in any way but still provides a TON of laughs. I am not going to give anything away but there is a scene where the group "moves in" to a house in Beverly Hills that is just non-stop laughs.
Really what can I say about the acting? Woody Harrelson was born to play roles like this as Tallahassee seems to be tailor made for his sarcasm and humor and his tough guy side. Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin are some of our fine up and coming young actors and all play to their strengths well. Jesse is great as the quiet, loner type that he plays as Colombus. Emma Stone has a beautiful facade but a tough streak that seems to fit her well, and Abigail Breslin plays the young care free sister to a T.
Zombieland is by no means a perfect movie. The premise is as simple as you would expect and add just a little emotion and romance into the mix which is to be expected. There are a few moments where things lull a little bit longer than maybe necessary but it's not enough to take too much away from all the action and excitement that sandwich these few slower spots. It tries to invest you in the characters, and while you wont have a severe emotional attachment to any of them, they give you just enough to care for their survival. But it all comes back to execution and it packs in so many laughs and action that some of it's smaller flaws can be ignored.
Zombieland is just too much fun to dwell on it's small flaws. It packs more laughs than most standard comedies and more frights and bloodshed then many studio horror films. With it's combination of laugh out loud moments and over the top action that makes you yell out pure excitement, Zombieland is the most fun you may ever have at a horror movie. When it's all over, you'll agree that the zombie apocalypse has never seemed like so much fun.
- Justin Haaksma