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Zombieland (2009)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
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8.0
 / 10
35 votes
Genres:
Horror, Horror Comedy, Zombie Film
Director:
Ruben Fleischer Ruben Fleischer
Starring:
Jesse Eisenberg Jesse Eisenberg
Woody Harrelson Woody Harrelson
Emma Stone Emma Stone
Abigail Breslin Abigail Breslin
Amber Heard Amber Heard
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Review by 385
Added: October 22, 2009
Apocalyptic worlds overrun with zombies are absolutely nothing new, but it's a bit strange seeing one getting so much mainstream attention. Especially a zombie movie that's throwing comedy in the mix. There's been a flood of these since Shaun of the Dead found success, but again, all the buzz is kind of an anomaly.

The cause of the zombie infestation is barely explained, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not important. Survivors are far and few between, and we catch up with one of them who's began wondering if he was the last human alive. His name is never given, but he's later given the nickname Columbus. The epitome of a wimpy geek beforehand, his lack of social interaction and strict adherence to several rules have allowed him to survive in this world, which he has dubbed Zombieland. Despite the fact that he's a loner being a large part of why he's still alive, he's slowly making his way back to his hometown of Columbus, OH when he runs into another survivor, who insisting they avoid attachment by referring to each other by their destinations, introduces himself as Tallahassee. Tallahassee is the polar opposite of Columbus: he's crude, reckless, and takes a special glee in engaging the zombies. Hungering for a Twinkie, he leads the pair into a grocery store (breaking many of Columbus' rules in the process), where they discover two more survivors: A young woman, Wichita, and her little sister, Little Rock. After surviving alone for all this time, how can this group suddenly thrust together expect to trust each other?

As we were driving to the theater, my uncle commented that when a movie like this is so popular, it's "the kiss of death", meaning it will usually disappoint the usual fans of the genre looking for something more visceral. Turns out, he knew what he was talking about. For starters, despite being a movie based on zombies, by no means is this a horror/comedy; it's actually an action/comedy. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, and seeing the zombie (naturally, we're using the feral, running variety here) scenes from an action point of view is one hell of a good time, with plenty of the red stuff splattering all over the place. The problem lies in that after the first thirty minutes and the obligatory zombie mob climax (which are both great), there's very little zombie action throughout most of the film. Instead, the focus shifts more to the interaction between our four survivors. While there's some decent scenes here, it's not providing what we came here to see, and by the time it hits a cameo by a certain comedic actor and the ensuing hijinks, the impatience for more zombies will practically have you squirming in your seat.

I'm guessing that the comedy side of the table has been met with mixed results. See, it's delivered with a combination of absurdist humor and situational humor from the characters, mostly Tallahassee's zealous lust for violence and Columbus' wimpy awkward nature. Personally, I kind of enjoyed the absurdist half. Any time Columbus would mention or demonstrate one of his rules, it would be displayed prominently on screen, and more often than not, the subtitles could be interacted with to some degree. Opening credits followed the same formula, and the letters were sent flying when hit by zombies or their fleeing prey. Now, even though I found this approach pretty damn funny, I could definitely see why someone could get tired of it quickly.

If you want to discuss the acting in Zombieland, the conversation begins and ends with Woody Harrelson as the gun loving, borderline lunatic Tallahassee. The man probably makes up a full half of the fun Zombieland offers single handedly. Obviously, our filmmakers realized this, which is why the trailers would have you believe he's the main star of this movie, but in truth, Columbus gets that honor. Jesse Eisenberg, and Emma Stone for that matter, are both decent enough in their roles, although they're definitely outshined by Harrelson. The difference wasn't so bad when it was just Tallahassee and Columbus, because they were perfect foils for each other, but when they're joined by the girls the gap becomes very visible. Finally, thirteen year old Abigail Breslin does very well, despite her age, in the supporting role of Little Rock.

Even with it's share of complaints, Zombieland is still a fun little movie. I'm not so sure it's worth dropping the big bucks on a primetime ticket, but it's definitely worth seeing at the cheaper matinee price. 6.5/10.
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steveoutr #1: steveoutr - added 10/23/2009, 01:08 AM
i really enjoyed this movie, its not perfect and i think a few tweaks to the story could have really hit a home run for me, but i give it a solid 7.5-8/10
waxtadpole3657 #2: waxtadpole3657 - added 10/23/2009, 02:42 AM
Seriously? I thought it was fantastic. I love zombie flicks to death, but it was nice to see it be about the characters for a change. It was no Shaun of the Dead, but still completely enjoyable. 8.5/10
steveoutr #3: steveoutr - added 10/23/2009, 11:01 AM
Emma Stone = Gorgeous btw
Tristan #4: Tristan - added 10/23/2009, 06:23 PM
Emma Stone is anything but gorgeous.
steveoutr #5: steveoutr - added 10/23/2009, 06:48 PM
well i agree to disagree
Chad #6: Chad - added 10/24/2009, 04:23 AM
There was a five or ten minute stretch after the cameo (which was brilliant) where things slowed down a bit too much for my liking, but other than that, I loved this movie. The whole final act in the amusement park just had me grinning like a little kid, and what's not to love about Woody playing the kind of character he plays best? I think a 9/10 is much more appropriate here: it's not as good as Shaun, as the guy above pointed out, but it's not a whole lot worse either.
Tristan #7: Tristan - added 10/24/2009, 03:35 PM
Yeah, so this movie was just this side of perfect. I had a few minor complaints here and there, but overall I couldn't find a single thing wrong with it. The cameo was hilarious, the gore was nice, and the movie really moved along at a nice pace. Definitely in my top movies of the year.

9/10
Nirrad #8: Nirrad - added 10/31/2009, 12:27 AM
9/10 as well. Simply great. Although I was the only one in the theater who laughed at "Maybe Garfield". Also is that I totally forgot about the cameo for a 2nd time, so when it was coming up I was pretty excited. I personally like this better than Shaun.
brendan #9: brendan - added 11/05/2009, 09:25 PM
it was a good movie but their was some stuck parts 8/10
Lucid Dreams #10: Lucid Dreams - added 11/06/2009, 10:41 PM
I enjoyed it. 9/10
Bliss From A Dead Embrace #11: Bliss From A Dead Embrace - added 11/11/2009, 05:11 PM
9/10. Movie was full of win.
bluemeanie #12: bluemeanie - added 11/18/2009, 11:23 AM
Love, love, loved this film. I thought the humor was spot-on and right up my alley. Woody Harrelson kicks major amounts of ass. Of course, the cameo was the highlight of the film for me, but I loved the tongue-in-cheek way it approached just about everything. Best zombie film I have seen in a while. 8/10.
Griffinheart #13: Griffinheart - added 11/18/2009, 10:09 PM
Not perfect, but darn enjoyable. 7.5-8/10
George Snow #14: George Snow - added 02/25/2010, 10:03 PM
This film was bloody and hilarious. I especially loved when the woman went flying through the windshield and hit the ground. That was gross. The Murray part though predictable was excellent. I have no complaints about this flick. 10/10
Greg Follender #15: Greg Follender - added 03/24/2010, 02:04 AM
Terrific fun, this... I enjoyed it in spite of myself;)

I have to concur with Nirrad... I, too, found this to be more enjoyable than Shaun of the Dead. At least it was consistent in tone all the way through the film.
It surely isn't perfect, but it was so fresh and earnestly funny in a way that didn't feel forced that really stayed with me long after it's running time. It didn't even degenerate into the ubiquitous predictable twist ending cliché that I was dreading...

Also... some of the best opening credits EVER!

As a further bonus... it has the distinction of being one of the few films in which I didn't want Woody Harrelson to get curb-stomped within the first 10 minutes of listening to him stumble through dialogue... Merry Christmas.

Fun and goofy with gore to boot... what more do you want from a Horror comedy?

I might lower the score upon a re-viewing... but I found it entertaining enough to rate a solid 8/10 upon my first experience with it.
crucibelle #16: crucibelle - added 03/07/2011, 03:51 PM
Don't really like comedies OR zombie movies, but this one was pretty good. Enjoyed it in spite of myself, as Greg said, above. 8/10
385 #17: 385 - added 12/03/2012, 10:13 PM
Watched this again. Liked it a lot more than I did the first time. Let's lift this up to a high eight, low nine.
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