October 2, 2009 Zombieland
Studio: Columbia Pictures Rating: R for horror violence/gore and language.
Zombies have been in vogue at the theater for decades.
From George Romero's classic films to latter day updates in which the undead have been transformed from slow shufflers to monsters who sprint at top speed, audiences have long been fascinated with them.
The modern, souped-up version is the type of creature you get in "Zombieland". It stars Jesse Eisenberg (Columbus) as a nerdy kid who has somehow managed to survive the apocalypse. He credits his ability to avoid becoming a snack to following a rigid set of guidelines. Number one is cardio, making sure you can outrun your undead pursuers. Number two is the double tap. A couple of shots are always needed to make sure the zombie stays down. Columbus also always checks a vehicle's back seat and avoids public bathrooms.
Although there aren't many living people still around, Columbus soon joins up with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson). He has a talent for taking out zombies in creative and violent ways. But he also has a strong craving for a fluffy golden snack cake. Unfortunately, with the onset of the apocalypse, Tallahassee is having a hard time tracking down a Twinkie. The end of the world will tend to make some items more scarce than others.
"Zombieland" takes what you already know about this very familiar genre and gives it a fresh, new spin. Its tone reminded me of the Simon Pegg hit film, "Shaun of the Dead."
Both movies have plenty of gore and action. But they really can't be called scary. At least not in the traditional sense of a horror movie. There are a few jumpy moments, but mostly the script is shooting for action and laughs.
And like its predecessor, "Zombieland" works. It's very funny, with a vision of a future world dominated by the undead looking appropriately desolate and dismal.
As the story plays out, Columbus and Tallahassee soon hook up with sisters played by Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin.
However, the girls don't exactly play nice. In this world the way of life is simple: Trust no one and look out for yourself. Eventually that changes when this unlikely group realizes they have a better chance of living by sticking together.
There are several laugh-out loud moments, mainly because of their sheer absurdity. And I liked the way Columbus' rules popped up throughout the film. They serve as a constant reminder of what it takes to make it in "Zombieland".
Finally, I wont spoil one of my favorite parts of the film but there is a segment which caught me by surprise by both its featured actor and by what happens. I think you'll enjoy it too.
On my rating scale, "Zombieland" earns a TRIPLE. Just settle in and get ready for a good time.
Oh, and stay for after the credits if you're interested in seeing a short, but funny scene.
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