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Zombieland
Genre Horror
Year: 2009
 
Review:

Zombieland is a rough place alright... especially if you don't know the fundamental rules of survival. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, you'd be wise to at least skim through the most important ones...if don't want to lose your head.

ZOMBIELAND RULES

#1 Cardio - if you can't outrun 'em, you're toast.
#2 The Double Tap - two slugs in the head is better than one.
#3 Beware of Bathrooms - pants down, chin up.
#4 Seatbelts - only crash test dummies lock down.
#6 Cast Iron Skillet - one swing and that sucker's out.
#7 Travel Light - drop everything, including your hat.
#8 Get A Kickass Partner - someone who can kill, who you won't.
#12 Bounty - paper towels to mop up blood and brains.
#17 Don't Be A Hero - it's every man for himself.
#18 Limber Up - pull a muscle and you're a goner.
#21 Avoid Strip Clubs - there's no such thing as a sexy zombie.
#22 When In Doubt, Know Your Way Out - no exit, no escape.
#29 The Buddy System - you need someone to get your back.
#31 Check The Back Seat - zombies don't ride shotgun.
#32 Enjoy The Little Things - savour nostalgia where possible.
#33 Swiss Army Knife - never leave home without it.

Zombieland is directed by Fantasy Factory writer-producer, Ruben Fleischer and stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin and Emma Stone. It's yet another "zombedy" (zombie comedy) in the wake of Shaun of the Dead, except it's more of a cross-country adventure, following two men and their exploits as they try to outrun and survive in the United States of Zombieland. The classic road movie gets flipped on its head as some of the fittest and fastest remaining Americans try to stay ahead of the undead. Firing shotguns, swinging baseball bats, hot-wiring cars, decommissioning zombies... it's all in a day's work for these intrepid zombie survivors.

Jesse Eisenberg reprises a similar role, hairstyle and manner as his character from Adventureland... Zombieland... Adventureland. His wimpy yet likable attitude and off-beat humour as Columbus complement the brazen, Crocodile Dundee antics of Woody Harrelson as Tallahassee. Eisenberg's performance is almost identical to that of Adventureland in tempo, ambition and intellect as the good guy underdog, making you want him to succeed. Armed with his rules for surviving in Zombieland, he teams up with Harrelson's character to make an unlikely tag team of adventurers in the urban wilderness.

Zombieland also co-stars Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) as Little Rock, Emma Stone (Superbad) as Wichita and a classic cameo from Bill Murray, get this... as himself. The movie trades in cult currency as an icon in the making... tapping into Americana in its reverence for Hollywood, motor vehicles, zombie conventions and even product placements. Grant the product placements do border on being over-the-top tacky at times, the film still manages to hold some degree of integrity between fighting for the last remaining Twinkie in the West to punting Ghostbusters and the rest of Bill Murray's career.

Zombieland starts off with a bang, introducing the rules and splashing vomit, blood and sweat on screen to get your attention. It's a classic intro that sets the tone for the rest of the film, but seriously mellows out in the middle, focussing on the relationships between the troupe of near-extinct humans. The gore factor is for a lack of a better joke... in good taste and on par for a zombedy, nowhere near as graphic as anything by Dario Argento. It hits you hard in the beginnin, lulls you into a sense of complacency and then throws everything at you in the dying stages.

The performances are solid, the direction is good, the production values are high, the sets are cool, the music is spot-on and the laughs are forthcoming... making it a real contender. However, the perpetual product placements are distracting, while the simple film narrative and stale concept don't really add anything new to the genre. It makes a hard-edged zombedy with heaps of cult appeal, one of the best American movies of its type, but doesn't have the same heart, comedy or fresh-faced appeal as its predecessor, Shaun of the Dead.

The bottom line: Entertaining.

 

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