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Zombieland (2009)

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

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Zombieland: The Laughing Dead

  • Oct 6, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+4
 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 flesh-eating, undead monsters with lightning reflexes and ravenous appetites. Civilization has collapsed, and very few living humans remain. Some things, however, never change: Murray is still at the top of the Hollywood food chain, and still insouciant. Columbus (Jesse EisenbergAdventureland) is one of the few survivors – mainly because he has always been a skittish germophobe and budding recluse. Columbus adheres to a rigid set of rules, apparently derived from horror movie clichés, which has kept him alive. (Rule No. 31: Always check the back seat. Rule No. 17: Don’t be a hero.) He runs into Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), who is the Steve McQueen of zombie-killers: bloodlessly efficient and almost too cool for words. Tallahassee’s only weakness is a mad craving for Twinkies. The corpse-grinding guys meet their match in a pair of sisters dubbed Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who survive on a wicked mix of brains and sex appeal. The boys just cannot stop underestimating them and falling for their cons. Complications inevitably arise when the group’s “every man for himself” ethos – the characters are designated by hometowns rather than names to keep each other at arm’s length – collides with simple human concern for one another.

Under the surprisingly assured hand of first-time director Ruben Fleischer, the movie has a free-wheeling sense of fun, as if the-powers-that-be really thought about the positives of living in a world conquered by the undead. The loose camerawork and editing — packed with slow-motion and ingeniously skewed angles – translate into a breezy pace that makes the business of stomping zombie ass look like an adventure and almost noble. The idea that all bets are off after the fall of civilization finds its ultimate expression in a liberating scene in which the characters destroy a kitschy souvenir store like rock stars on a bender. When there are no rules, why not turn the dump over? Then again, if there are no rules, what’s the point of violating norms? When the mice play, does it really count if the cat is dead? Wichita and Little Rock convince the boys to accompany them to Pacific Playland (a generic stand-in for the playground of a certain corporate mouse), because they believe the amusement park is a zombie-free zone. It also symbolizes the 12-year-old’s vanished childhood — lost, along with the rest of society, to the undead plague. Of course the supremely confident girls sneak off to enter the park alone, and the facility proves much more challenging than anticipated. And certain characters learn hard lessons about why Columbus keeps that little notebook full of survival rules. (And it ain’t because rules are made to be broken!)

Although this is an R-rated movie about the undead,Zombieland resists getting bogged down in gore, preferring to revel in disgusting use of unspecified, multi-hued ooze streaming from the orifices of the undead. Most of the more extreme violent moments – like dispatching a zombie with garden shears — are implied rather than actually depicted, however, the monsters do shred and eat flesh oncamera. This is not the kind of movie that demands a lot of acting nuance, but the performers do their best to make you root for their characters to survive. Columbus is the most…er, fleshed out, as Eisenberg avoids the easy pitfalls of playing nerds by depicting him more as a misunderstood regular guy. Harrelson’s Tallahassee is only too happy to learn that he is a natural-born killer of zombies with a zest for revenge against the abominations. As the treacherous sisters, Stone (Superbad) and Breslin sparkle as more than mere foils for the boys. Stone resists simply filling the role of love interest, while it’s easy to picture Little Rock as an older version of Little Miss Sunshine’s overachieving Olive.

There’s something very appropriate about a movie featuring brain-eating monsters being perfectly mindless, but it is also totally enjoyable and strangely full of heart.

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October 08, 2009
Couldn't agree with you more. Who would have thunk we'd have a usccessful character driven zomedy? By the way, which do you prefer; SHAUN OF THE DEAD or DEAD-ALIVE? My money is on the latter.
 
October 06, 2009
Thanks for this great review! I gotta go see this movie!
October 07, 2009
Glad you enjoyed it!
 
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 . October 03, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
poster
     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” …
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 …
Quick Tip by . March 15, 2011
Zombies have been the talk of the town for the last few years. The number of zombie survival guides that have been released continues to grow, but I bet very few people expected the zombie invasion that took place in 2009.      On September 30 I walked down 42nd St to attend an early screening of Zombieland, but to my surprise I got way more than I had bargained for. Standing in line I was quickly surrounded by the livinging dead. Seeing the infected swarm around the 42nd …
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"

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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