Movie Review: ZombieLand is ZombieAwesome


From the moment that Zombieland begins with an earnest, yet extremely funny narrative on the rules on how to survive a zombie attack done over the backdrop of surprisingly tame but effective scenes of zombie attacks and people flying through windshields, you immediately become aware that this is not your typical “George A. Romero” type zombie movie.

Even though the film takes place within a post-apocalyptic world where a unknown virus has turned the people who ate the meat tainted with it into Zombies, this beginning narration sets the tone for the well paced seriocomedic nature that sets Zombieland apart from the typical zombie horror movie.  The narrator and main character of the movie is “Columbus” (Jesse Eisenberg), a a twentysomething loner type college student who, up until the zombie virus changed the world, lived a very phobic/uptight existence in Austin, Texas. Once the virus struck he sets out on a journey to get back to his hometown of Columbus, Ohio to check on his family.



Along the way he hooks up with “Tallahassee” (Woody Harrelson), an edgy, aggressive “cowboy” type whose life goal is to find the spongy, golden goodness of a twinkie, but whose cavalier facade hides a sad secret. Enter into their lives two smart and slightly devious sisters named “Wichita” (Emma Stone) and “Little Rock” (Abigail Breslin) who con the guys out of their gun and steal their vehicle.

One of the things that makes Zombieland , which was directed by Ruben Fleischer, produced by Gavin Polone and Written by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, such a fun movie to watch is that the characterizations were solid and the performances are strong by the actors. Woody Harrelson steals the movie. His character of “Tallahassee” was funny and macho yet not overly OTT. “Columbus” was nerdy but not stereotypical. The sisters, “Wichita” and “Little Rock” were strong female characters with “Wichita” showing that women don’t need to be nude or vulgar to come across as tough or smart. The cameo by Bill Murray as himself is extremely well played and doesn’t come across as gratuitous use of celebrity. It’s funny and smartly done.

The special effects are top notch, yet the movie doesn’t go overboard on the “blood and guts” to make their point about the horror of zombies eating people alive. The movie relies more on adding a dark humor to the situation and you spend as much time laughing as you do jumping in your seat or covering your eyes.

If Zombieland has one major flaw, it’s the fact that the movie drags a bit in places and I as a movie goer felt it lost some of its momentum in the middle. I really felt that there could have been more zombie action added to keep that element on track. But the final conflict had power, plenty of momentum and suspense. The amusement park setting was a great allegory to the ‘thrill ride’ that the final action scenes were. The comedy elements were well written and well timed. I laughed at every one of them as did the majority of the audience. All in all a very well done movie that proved you don’t need excessive gore, nudity or profanity to make an action/comedy/horror movie worth watching.

Grade = A-

Reviewed by M R Reed