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Zombieland (2009)

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

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I'm Going to Zombieland!

  • Oct 7, 2009
  • by
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 to dislike this too..."  Yet when it comes to Lunch.com, I trust those who review here.  And let me just say that the reviews written by Christy, Woopak, QUEENBFLIX and Trashcanman made me think that perhaps I should at least give Zombieland a try.  And so I did.  And I'm proud to say I had fun.  Zombieland isn't an ultra serious movie... if the previews didn't tell you that then I would recommend going to see a Doctor immediately. 

The following is an extended preview that's also uncut, but it emphasizes the point... what you see is what you get:


Zombieland is a Post-Apocalypic world where a virus has turned people into Zombies (bet you didn't see that one coming).  In it there's a young man who tells us just what happened.  He's unnamed, but we know him as Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg).  As the movie begins he's giving us a break down of what he considers to be the four most important rules of surviving in Zombieland. 

Rule 1: Cardio.  For obvious reasons, the fat guys went first.  Because the fat guys just couldn't keep running.  

Rule 2: Double Tap.  Just shooting a zombie isn't enough... just watching him fall to the ground isn't enough.  When in doubt, shoot the head.  In short... kill the bastard a second time!

Rule 3: Beware of Bathrooms.  While this rule you don't see in play nearly as much in the film, it's important to realize that Zombies are lurking everywhere.  And you have to beware bathrooms because you just might be caught with your pants down.

Rule 4: Seatbelts.  When you're getting in the car and driving away from a horde of Zombies... Safety first!

There are more rules.  We're given the idea that there are 33 rules, but you won't learn all of them.  In fact, combined with the film and specific trailers you only learn about fifteen of these rules.  But as the film progresses you're reminded of these rules.  The running gag through the entire movie is the idea of Columbus and those he meets following these rules.  And the reason he's named Columbus?  Or at least why we know him as such?  Because he's on his way to Columbus Ohio.  And as he goes he'll meet another man who is VERY good at being a bad ass.  He's played by Woody Harrelson.  He's come from Tallahassee.  And, yes Tallahassee is so bad ass that pretty soon you'll be seeing "Woody Harrelson Facts."  And yes, he'd totally kick Chuck Norris's ass.  There I said it.  Of course, everyone has their weakness.  And for Tallahassee it's... Twinkies.  No, I'm not kidding.  We learn this when Columbus and Tallahassee stumble upon a hostess truck. 

Upon realizing there are no Twinkies, the two then go to a store and meet two awesome chicks.  One from Witchita (Emma Stone) and one from Little Rock (Abigail Breslin).  The two women are good at what they do, and that's conning people, and they do manage to con Columbus and Tallahassee.  I know... how the hell do you con Woody Harrelson?  After they're conned they find another vehicle and manage to chase after them... only to be conned a second time.  But this time all four will travel together.  The adventure is shortlived.  Being 80 minutes long, Zombieland is just a smidge longer than the movie 9.  Yet it's still filled with quite a bit.  The most of which is laughs.  But you also get flashbacks for the characters to give you a better sense of who they are.  There's not much mystery surrounding them, but it's not as though you're learning a lot either.  Nevertheless, the entire cast of characters is quite likeable and funny.  Bill Murray also shows up to give a cameo and he gives some huge laughs as well.  There's not much to Zombieland at all.  It's got a small cast, a simple story and is filled with plenty of laughs.  Woody Harrelson in particular looks as though he's having fun in every scene.

This is what you should be doing as you sit and watch.  This is a comedy, not some horror movie in which you're wondering about who will live and who will die.  And yet, ironically we DO fear for the characters. 

Zombieland isn't scary.  It's bloody and gory, though and pretty violent.  That earns it some points in my book.  If there was any complaint I had with Zombieland it would probably be that the movie was just too damn short.  Which means, unfortunately, we don't get to see nearly as many zombies killed as we'd like.  The final moments are very fun, but there's a moment where the movie actually slows down with the fun.  In fact, some of Zombielands weakest moments were the moments when the film was being somewhat serious. 

There's no reason anyone should actually have their expectations up for Zombieland.  You are very much getting what you saw in the previews, but there is a little bit more to it than simply killing zombies.  In fact, the movie even manages to throw in a couple of emotional moments.  As I said, though, these are actually some of Zombielands weaker moments.  They're not all weak (what few of them there are) but you are dealing with characters who are given a quick backstory and the movie isn't long enough to compensate their growth.  You'll still like the characters, but it's to say the movie moves at such a quick pace that really getting to know them isn't going to happen.  But you do learn the important stuff... enough to actually understand them.  We learn why Witchita and Little Rock are con girls, we learn why Tallahasseee is willing to throw himself into any danger and through Columbus we get an idea of how it spread in the first place (though how it all started is still rather vague). 

Zombieland, of course, does have pitfalls.  I already talked briefly about the characters, but one thing that has to be touched on is that Zombieland is pretty darn predictable.  That's not always such a bad thing, but every character falls into the same old role.  There's the typical badass, the nerdy guy who wants a girl and the girl who shouldn't be into him at all but totally is (not to mention someone is always traveling with a child survivor).  None of this detracts from the fun, but it's impossible not to notice.  I already talked about how it slows down as well, but it never hurts to mention that while it's slowing down, the reason you're not having much fun is actually because no Zombies are getting killed or anything during these moment.

So is Zombieland fun?  Yes.  Aboslutely.  If you like blood, gore, zombies and just want to laugh out loud, Zombieland is a blast.  If you're actually expecting a scary horror movie... I once again ask you to go see your Doctor immediately.  This is one moment where the previews aren't lying at all.  What you see is what you're going to get.  There IS more to it, but expecting a horror movie is almost like expecting a Big Mac at McDonald's to taste like a salad.  This is a comedy through and through.

With that in mind, it's a safe bet that Zombieland will become a cult classic among fans.  It's definitely not for everyone (like Shaun of the Dead isn't for everyone), but if you want to have some fun... saddle up and get a ticket to Zombieland.  It's worth the price of admission.

Enjoy the ride.

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March 23, 2010
Spot on, Sean. Spot on. Loved it.
October 09, 2009
YOu want to see something that's really bowl you over and makes SHAUN OF THE DEAD look like oatmeal? Try Peter Jackson's DEAD-ALIVE. Thanks for the shoutout.
October 08, 2009
I'm hoping to see this one on sunday. Seems like there's a general consensus about the film's rating; everyone's giving it a 4. Nice review and congrats on moving up another notch on the site.
October 09, 2009
The fact that I go higher should be expected because I'm all about horror comedy and going heavier on the comedy is always going to win points with me as long as the comedy really works.
October 09, 2009
October 07, 2009
"...recommend going to a doctor immediately" I love it! This movie was fun, cheeky and just so cool. Glad you liked it, Sean, we actually saw several things in the same light. I just wished that it focused more on the zombie killings than slowing down to give some cliched emotions. It wasn't bad in this area but sure slowed things down. I got a shout out too! Thanks! great breakdown.
More Zombieland reviews
review by . October 31, 2011
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review by . December 24, 2010
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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 …
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #7
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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About this movie



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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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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