Review: Zombieland (2009)

This article was published on the original Sorry I’m on 02/11/09.

From the moment I first saw the trailer to Zombieland, I knew that this horror/comedy hybrid road picture would be right up my alley. But as we all know, trailers can be deceiving – they can make a bad movie look interesting and vice versa. I’m pleased to say that not only is Zombieland an awesome flick, but it’s one of my favourites this year. Booya!

The film starts with Columbus (Eisenberg), seemingly a rare surviving human in post-apocalyptic Earth – now dubbed ‘Zombieland’. Although being on the Woody Allen side of neurotic, Columbus explains that these neuroses are what have kept him alive all this time, written as a list of rules for survival (Rule #1 – Cardio: ‘When the zombie outbreak first hit, the first to go were the fatties’). On his journeys he meets up with Tallahassee (Harrelson), a gun toting redneck whose one mission is to find a Twinkie in Zombieland before they all expire. They then stumble across charlatan sisters Wichita and Little Rock (Stone, Breslin), whom after they con the two men out of their truck and guns join together in their journey west to theme park Pacific Playland.

A standard evening at Coles.

Running at a brisk 81 minutes, Zombieland is non-stop entertainment juggernaut and although it is more on the comedy side than horror, there is plenty is violence and gore at hand but it is more slapstick than gross-out. Director Fleischer does a wonderful job in pacing the film so that we get equal amounts of character development in between the hilarity. After watching this I could say that his style is a cross between Zack Snyder and Greg Mottola (through obvious and not-so-obvious comparisons).

The first 10 minutes of this film is absolutely golden, with Columbus’ first on-screen encounters with zombies and the genius way of going through the list of rules as they happen, and the incredible opening title sequence (done in a style similar to this year’s Watchmen and Wolverine) perfectly set to Metallica’s For Whom the Bell Tolls – a track that has been on constant play on my iTunes ever since. Not to say that the rest of the movie is a disappointment, but they certainly put their best foot forward in creating a tone for the rest of the movie.

Performances are astounding all around amongst the main cast (which, bar zombies, is kind of the only cast) but get outshined by an amazingly cool performance by Woody Harrelson. It’s kind of like it’s the role he was born to play and I give him props for going completely over-the-top without tipping over into cheesy self-parody territory. I might also mention a movie stealing cameo that I will not give away here, but I will tell you that he co-starred with Harrelson in 1996.

Zombieland is amazing, and although I won’t go so far as to say it beats Shaun of the Dead as supreme zom-com, it does stand proudly beside it. See it right now!

Award: Golden Llama

– The imaginative way of presenting the ‘rules’.
– For Whom the Bell Tolls.
– That cameo.
– ‘Zombie Kill of the Week’.

– The fact that two young girls can get a theme park fully operational post-Armageddon is farfetched, even here.

– Shaun of the Dead
– Dawn of the Dead (2004)
– Adventureland

Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Written by: 
Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Produced by: 
Gavin Polone
Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin
Distributed by: 
Columbia Pictures
Run length: 
81 minutes
Australian Release:
 03 December 2009


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