Published Oct 01, 2009Starting with the visually stunning opening credits, it's apparent that Zombieland is going to be focused on the thrill of the undead kill rather than the horrifying unreality of a world overrun by walking corpses. Following in the proverbial footsteps of films like Shaun of the Dead and Fido, Zombieland finds the humour inherent in flesh-eating monsters from beyond the grave, leaving the weak social metaphors to George Romero's fear-based films.
Zombieland may in fact be a natural cure for avoiding zombie attacks, as it's best viewed with an absence of brains, a slack jaw and a vacant look in your eyes. Little explanation is given as to why or how the zombies have taken over the world, but that's not really the point of Zombieland ― this is just a blood-soaked rollercoaster ride (at one point, literally) of excessive zombie thrashing.
The story is narrated by Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), a geeky loner whose semi-whining is overshadowed by the manic energy of Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a survivor whom he befriends on the road for lack of a better living option. While on a search for tasty, cream-filled Twinkies, the two men meet Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), two con-artist sisters willing to do anything to survive the ongoing apocalypse. The four create a makeshift post-nuclear family, banding together in search of a zombie-free place to exist.
Zombieland's momentum is only slightly marred by an odd celebrity cameo that comes out of nowhere and views like a cut-and-paste idea from a totally different script. Luckily the cameo scene is fun in and of itself and lasts just long enough to leave you wondering just what the hell that was all about before rushing headlong into more skull smashing fun. Harrelson and Eisenberg make an unlikely team but their on-screen chemistry is solid, though Harrelson's portrayal of Tallahassee overshadows everyone else when he's on screen.
Zombieland might not have the long-term appeal of Shaun of the Dead but as a simple escape from the real world, it does its job well. (Sony)