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Zombieland (2009)

An American post-apocalyptic zombie comedy movie directed by Ruben Fleischer

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"The United States of ZOMBIELAND"...Comedy, Action, Splatterfests and "Twinkies"!!

  • Oct 3, 2009
Rating:
+4
Poster art for "Zombieland."
 
Zombies have become such a great delicacy in the horror genre; they have become almost as malleable and adaptive as the vampire when it comes to genre mixing. We’ve seen them in horror, action, comedy and even video games. One would argue that the current winner of the zombie comedy crown is either “Shaun of the Dead” or “Fido”. Director Ruben Fleischer isn’t seeking to reinvent the zombie-comedy-splatter fest with “ZOMBIELAND” but he does get the mechanics and the feel just about right. The film is funny, bloody and full of elements that just screams “cult hit”.
 
After an unknown disease had wiped out most of the world’s population that turned ordinary humans into cannibalistic creatures, it leaves only a few living survivors that are barely making ends meet. Among them, is a young man who we shall call “Columbus” (Jesse Eisenberg) who has set up his own personal set of rules to help him survive the zombie siege. He meets up with a zombie hunter who we shall call “Tallahassee” (Woody Harrelson) who is just so bad-ass that he enjoys what he does best--kill zombies while looking for “Twinkies”. The two resolve to travel East hoping to find whatever remains of their homes. On the way, they become hindered by a young woman who we shall call “Wichita” (Emma Stone) and her sister “Little Rock” (Abigail Breslin), the two drifters are on their way to visit their beloved theme park in California. The foursome are distrusting at first, but they soon begin to bond and trust each other. This newfound friendship is finally put to the test when zombies lay siege on whatever the four have left.

A scene from "Zombieland."
 
Hell, what is up with zombies these days? I guess one may say there is just nothing more entertaining than watching zombies get blasted to bits. Fleischer is well aware what exactly he is up against here; it would be extremely difficult to get a 100% original zombie movie but he does manage to get the right materials and elements to charm the gorehound (although I was a bit disappointed with the use of CGI in some scenes), the horror-fan while boosting the gregarious tone of laughs. I would even say that the movie may well be able to win over the non-zombie fan. The movie is just resolute in its aim to entertain and in many ways it does succeed. The movie is just hilarious and kindhearted that even manages to generate its share of shocks.
 
I guess the film’s charm would have to come from its two main characters. The movie is being narrated by Columbus and once you see the style with which he breaks down his rules (while being accompanied by on-screen typography) you know exactly what you are in for; Rule #1: Cardio, Rule # 2: Double Tap, rule # 3: Beware of bathrooms and so on. The movie is just fun and being narrated by Eisenberg, who sounded very sincere, real and human; it makes the movie easier to connect with. He admits to being a virgin and has a nerdy disposition, the guy is undoubtedly the weakest of the group. The movie is seen through Columbus’ point of view and I thought Eisenberg’s character gave the movie a feeling of warmth and heart.
 
Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson in "Zombieland."
 
Tallahassee is the redneck hunter that also has his own set of rules and among them is never become attached and never use real first names; which is why they call themselves though the names of the towns they hail from. Woody Harrelson provides the balance to Eisenberg’s character and some needed friction between the two, The movie comes off strong as we see the exchanges between the two but admittedly, Harrelson becomes the film‘s main draw. The man is just so funny when he needs to be. Emma Stone is also very charming and sexy as the tough Wichita that I was convinced that Columbus could immediately develop a crush on her. The cast is just good as they develop some dynamic chemistry with their characterization coming in the form of flashbacks.

A scene from "Zombieland."

Ok, so just how exactly does the movie perform as a splatter fest? Well, it does perform quite nicely.
 I know what you are thinking, a zombie comedy has to have several creative kills of the undead, actually Tallahassee and Columbus calls it “zombie kill of the week”; and you can see that kill in the trailer. The way the zombies are dispatched by our protagonists aren’t really that special but when delivered by Tallahassee, with his raw attitude, humor and intensity; it becomes very cool. The zombies in this movie aren’t your shambling undead in any of Romero’s flicks, but these are the zombies of “28 Days Later”. They are fast-moving and have their own level of minor intelligence.
 
The script by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese is full of zany, jaw-cracking laughs that can back up its cock-eyed heart. The filmmakers freely admitted that this film was inspired by “Shaun of the Dead” and this horror-comedy is done just right. The direction by Fleischer is obviously going for something a little primeval than just funny, and he uses some tricks with the camera (most notably some slow-motion) to express the gory kills. It is effective, when it shows the innocent being tackled by flesh-eating zombies or the zombies’ brains being splattered; the scenes are just cool to watch. I also liked his choice in the movie’s soundtrack; Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is so fitting to the film’s look and style.

Jesse Eisenberg and Amber Heard in "Zombieland."
 
Now the movie isn’t perfect, as the screenplay reaches its midpoint in the famous celebrity’s mansion (who also makes a cameo appearance) it becomes rather too formulaic and predictable. I have to say that the film lost some of its fun factor when we see the script fall into the usual trappings of “young love”. It didn’t exactly hurt the film in a way that can’t be recovered, but when it did slow down, it lost some of its comedic footing. I guess its main weakness would be, that while the film generated tons of fun in the form of machine guns, baseball bats, “snowballs”, painting Earnhardt numbers on every stolen vehicle, running down and beating zombies, “Zombieland” doesn’t offer anything very significant in its storyline. I did enjoy the way that the action was taken to a theme park, I thought this was a great way to save the slow points of the film.
 
While “Zombieland” isn’t the best zombie movie out there but it makes the best of what its got. The movie is witty, fun and very enjoyable. It does lose some gas in the halfway point, but Fleischer knew how to treat the material right. I guess it would be safe to say that “you don’t need any social commentary to make a fun zombie movie“. The film is just cheerfully bloody and visceral, and Fleischer knows how to make a simple premise work…and work very nicely.
 
Recommended! [3 ½+ Stars]

poster the gang wichita and little rock store scene knock them silly

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December 31, 2010
I liked it...even though i didnt think that i would. The opening scene was an awsome combination of one of my favorite songs and lots and lots of zombies! Great review as always!
December 31, 2010
I liked this one too, the only issue I had with it was after they got to Murray's mansion then it lost a lot of its momentum as it fell to the trappings of a teen movie.
December 31, 2010
Agreed they do get a little lost there 4 a while but i thought they made up 4 it with the cool theme park thing
December 31, 2010
now if they made a scene that made a phone ring...and then a zombie says....(in a disemboweled voice)....seven days....it'll be cool right? LOL!
January 01, 2011
Yes actually that could only be more lovely if i was haunted by pics of big black circles throughout the entire thing lol
 
August 11, 2010
Yeah i found this one to be good and funny as well, I would rate it the same.
 
July 17, 2010
I liked this movie myself thanks a million for sharing your thoughts on this.
July 17, 2010
Thanks for the read! I hope you are habving a great time in the site. :)
July 17, 2010
I am looking foward to seeing more movie titles added. I never really thought I watched a lot of movies but I have realized I have!
July 17, 2010
oh, you can add your own title in the site's homepage--'add a topic'. It's on the top right of the page and the review pages actually have some guides. Messsage me if you need any help!
 
October 09, 2009
I'd give the zombie comedy crown to "Fido". But I still have to see this. Awesome review as usual.
October 10, 2009
Thanks! I'll be reviewing DEAD ALIVE before this month is over.
October 10, 2009
Which one?
October 10, 2009
the one by Peter Jackson...
October 10, 2009
Whoo-hoo! That's what I was hoping you'd say. : )
October 10, 2009
I actually have several planned this month: Demon Knight, Dead Alive, The Others, Star of David, Siren, Slit-Mouthed Woman, Epitaph, Warlock...some of them are Pink Horror movies so I may not review them here, but maybe if I write them well enough then Lunch wouldn't mind....
 
October 07, 2009
Just out of curiosity, and this is a spoiler alert for anyone wondering...

When you saw this, did the audience feel really bad for Tallahassee once they saw he shot a box of twinkies?  Because everyone in the audience I saw it with got really really freakin' emotional.
October 07, 2009
most in my audience went; "aawwww....." then laughed at the final scene. reviewing this? everybody else is, join us! Queenie would love it!
October 08, 2009
Yes I did.
October 08, 2009
I saw that he shot those Twinkies and for some odd reason I was like, "Aww..." I felt so bad for him.  Then I cried... and my brother laughed... he's such a little trooper! (er... actually he's quite tall)
 
October 04, 2009
Well at least you rounded up instead of down. But for my money DEAD-ALIVE has it all over SHAUN OF THE DEAD in every department except the number of times "fuck" is said.
October 04, 2009
LOL! That is true, "Shaun.." did have a great number of fucks. I have to say that I am not sure if I've seen "Dead-Alive", my memory is trash at times. I will look into that again, you're the zombie queen and I knew letting the two of you go first with the reviews was a good decision. I liked this movie, it was very good, I actually almost gave it a 4, but as I've told Trash, it lost its footing on certain scenes.
October 04, 2009
I think you'd remember this if you'd seen it, Peter Jackson flick? Guy's mother get's bitten by a rare Sumatran Rat Monkey that's escaped, as she's slowly becoming zombified some of her lady friends come by for her lunch and her ear falls in her soup? At the end the big fight includes our hero holding up a lawn mower and using the blades to hack zombies? Any of this ringing a bell? It took me several tries to get through because of the gross factor. At the time I was just not into gross at all. It's by far the funniest thing I've every seen. I couldn't recommend it more highly. Can't believe you haven't seen it.
October 04, 2009
Yes!! Yes! I remember now, that is better! I loved that movie but it has been many years since I saw it. I am ashamed to say that I don't own the dvd, but I will rectify it tomorrow when I pick up MANIAC...Thanks, Karen! You rule.
This is the one right?
http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Alive-Timothy-Bal...d=1254643972&sr=8-1

I toldja my memory is garbage sometimes, I am not good with numbers, names but good in photos..(sniff)
October 05, 2009
Yep, that's it, and there's no doubt in my mind that's it's superior to SHAUN OF THE DEAD in every way possible.
October 06, 2009
Will see if I can include it for Shock-tober! (can't say October horror fest since it is limiting) Oh, Karen, I reviewed AUDITION and a David Cronenberg flick...
October 06, 2009
Cool. Shocktober is good enough for me!
October 08, 2009
Karen, Check out "TRICK R TREAT"...Ceno did a first strike a few months ago and I just reviewed it last night. I am currently watching a horror movie that is just kicking my ass so I took a quick break.
October 08, 2009
I'll be there.
 
October 03, 2009
Still not sure if I should rush right out & see this one or if it can wait til DVD. I'm not always a big fan of horror laced with liberal doses of comedy but sometimes it does work well in films like Cemetery Man or Shaun Of The Dead. Great review!
October 03, 2009
I'll tell you, if you didn't like the trailer then chances are this may not be for you. It is good but I thought "Shaun..." and "Fido" were better. I need to review "Cemetery Man" myself...this month would be the best month to do. Shock-tober!
October 03, 2009
I like zomedies but there are some that I could just as easily skip over. I never saw Fido but heard some pretty good stuff about it. Yeah, Cemtery Man would make an awesome review for Shock-tober. Or maybe one of the Faces Of Death films. LOL
October 03, 2009
Hey, Brian, on another point, have you seen "Exorcism" with Paul Naschy? I was thinking of buying a used copy...
October 03, 2009
Nah, I sure haven't. I will point out something pretty cool though if you're interested in buying some Naschy films on ammie. There is a box set of Paul Naschy which includes atleast four or five titles available on ammie marketplace & I think the sellers are asking around $15 for it. So when is Madman being re-released or remastered by the way?
October 03, 2009
Thanks, bro, I will look into that. Oh, I actually meant "MANIAC"...I saw it for $ 10.99 but someone told me it was going to be re-released; i heard rumors that it was also coming out on Blu-Ray but I dunno. I may just pick it up, horror flicks go on sale during this month!
October 03, 2009
Yeah, definitely pick up Maniac. You will LOVE it!!! Five star flick bro!
October 04, 2009
I will do so tomorrow! Oh, my AUDITION review is up!
Speaking of which, when are you going to post new horror reviews??
October 06, 2009
Cool, will drop you some positive feedback soon. I have some drafts up my sleeve but am not revealing anything just yet. Hope you guys like 'em though. ;-) Ti's the month to get spooked out & watch as many horror films as humanly possible.
 
October 03, 2009
Woop, I've said it before, I'll say it again- Damn you're quick on the latest films! I'm a tortoise in comparison! I suspect I'll get to this one around 2011. Anyway, great review my man. I was cracking up at a few scenes in the trailer (like when the nerdy kid attempts to ride a motorcycle to impress the girl's sister) but as always I take your word for all such things. Looks like a solid rental choice, which as I'm sure you already know, is much cheaper than hitting the theater. Keep up the great reviewing!!
October 03, 2009
Actually, bud, 3.5-4 is a good rating in my book. If you're in the mood for some crazy comedy with zombies getting killed then you'll be ok watching this in theaters. I liked it, don't get me wrong, but all in all, it still fell to the usual trappings. I have my days, but I don't see that many movies in theaters to tell you the truth...
 
October 03, 2009
Geez!  You, Trashie and Queenie!  I guess that means I'll check it out at some point.  Great write up!
October 03, 2009
we'll wait for your review...
 
1
More Zombieland reviews
review by . October 31, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Ah, the good old zombie apocalypse. That great fantasy scenario which allows people to envision going on destructive, murderous rampages while still emerging as the good guy.     Zombieland forgoes the regular rote of showing the apocalypse itself or even giving us a backstory to pin to it. All we know is that we are suddenly given this character, Columbus, who is running away from his life as a student at the University of Texas. We first see him in Garland picking up fuel ("You …
review by . December 24, 2010
I would hardly consider myself an expert on the zombie genre because I haven't seen many zombie films, but I can safely say that Zombieland is the highest grossing zombie film of all time for a reason. One of the great things about it is that it doesn't take itself all that seriously. It's a comedy first and a horror film second. I've never even been a fan of post-apocalyptic films and I still like this movie, because it doesn't treat itself as a post-apocalyptic film. The only …
review by . October 02, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Zombie Heaven
I can't believe the hate this flick is getting, for me it was zombie comedy heaven all wrapped up in a nice new package. We've seen zombies presented in all sorts of ways before but generally we get them in the same old unimaginative way; people get trapped in a house or other edifice and try to fight them off. Yeah. I saw that back in the 1960s and I've been ready for something else for a long time now so I appreciate any new twist to the formula no matter how slight. The twist here is …
review by . June 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Preposterous Blockbuster Zombie Flick
Don't get me wrong. I don't mind a horror comedy. In fact, some of them are relatively good in that annoyingly yet infectious way which usually spells out "instant cult classic" to most moviegoers. Biozombie perhaps would be the best example of a zomedy film that actually doesn't suck & pre-dates Shaun Of The Dead. I had relatively high hopes for Zombieland initially.      Surprisingly, the opening scenes of Zombieland sold me although I can't say …
Quick Tip by . January 03, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
I find zombie movies as funny as I find vampire movies overdone/overhyped. I got to a point where I was laughing out loud but had run out of sound long before the movie was over.
review by . March 17, 2010
I Liked the Edited Version of Zombieland
If I had actually watched the entire movie, my rating would surely be negative. But since I watched the movie with a friend kind enough to cover my eyes every time some gory attack or dismembering or blood spurting occurred, I moderately enjoyed the movie. In fact, as far as I know, one out of every four scenes was the back of someone's hand.      Between the scenes of the undead creating more carnage, there were some genuinely clever and entertaining moments. …
review by . July 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A mixed bag of horror, romance, comedy, action flick, and road movie, Zombie land stars Tallahassee and Columbus as an unlikely odd couple who travel through post apocalyptic America, blasting zombies away at every chance they get. Along the way they stumble across Wichita and Little Rock, two devious young women who are as quick as they are ill prepared to deal with a world full ofthe undead. But of course the four heroes manage to team up and kick-start a road trip to Pacific Playland, mostly …
review by . October 07, 2009
When I first heard of Zombieland and saw the previews my first reaction is... "I'm not sure if I want to see this."  And then a friend of mine saw it and said, "It's like Shaun of the Dead."  This brings me to my first confession.  I am one of about twelve people in the world who actually didn't like Shaun of the Dead.  There was nothing wrong with it, per se, I just didn't like it much.  So I started thinking, "I'm probably going …
review by . February 27, 2011
posted in SF Signal
   I managed to catch Zombieland the other day (last week in fact) and, despite the box office receipts and despite my personal reluctance to post yet another pan 1. Zombieland is one of those "seen the trailer, seen it all" flicks. In other words, once you've laughed and enjoyed the mayhem of the trailer and then said "I'd like to see that", don't bother. 2. The promotional campaign for this film is probably mostly at fault. Trailers and ads give you …
review by . October 06, 2009
 Step right up, folks! Don’t miss your opportunity to visit the one and only Zombieland! See! the amazing traveling zombie-killers Tallahassee and Columbus! Witness! the beguiling sibling con artists, Wichita and Little Rock! Marvel! at the last famous person on Earth, Bill Murray! Watch! in horror as the undead walk and ooze assorted unidentifiable bodily fluids…       In the near future, a virus will sweep the world, turning almost everyone into …
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Wiki

"

Filmed entirely in the state of Georgia.

If there's been a zombie apocalypse and you're road-tripping alone though the wasteland, you could do worse than run into Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a bourbon-swilling bad-boy butt-kicker with a really cool car. This is where the careful hero ofZombieland, a kid nicknamed Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), finds himself early in the film, and you can hardly blame him for hitching a ride with this swaggering Alpha Male. Still, they have their hands full not only with gibbering zombies but also with two sisters (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) who will stop at nothing to reach a Disneyland-like amusement park in L.A. AlthoughZombielandgets off to a rocky start with Columbus's overly-cute narration (he's got a list of rules for surviving in the zombie world), it settles into an amusing comedy, regularly interrupted by bouts of blood-letting. The road-trip stuff is enough fun that when the movie does arrive at its version of Disneyland, the air goes out of it a little; sure, there's a giant zombie blowout, with entrails flying, but it's not quite the same. Director Ruben Fleischer keeps the gags coming, although the movie is often funnier in its odd little asides (both Eisenberg and Harrelson are expert at this) than in its official jokes. Comic high point: an interlude at the home of a very famous movie star, who plays himself--and we'll leave the spoiler unspoiled, in case anybody hasn't heard about...
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Details

Director: Ruben Fleischer
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: October 2, 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 80 minutes
Studio: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
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