I love zombies. Who doesn’t?
Well, my wife for one. She sleeps light, one eye open, waiting for the zombie apocalypse to begin. Next to the bed is a baseball bat on which is engraved “The Butcher.” You know, just in case.
That’s one of the great things about zombies. You can kill (or is that re-kill?) them with a swift lick to the head. That’s a pretty nice advantage. A major silver lining for the zombie apocalypse: It ain’t vampires! What would you rather do, try and hit a 22” melon attached visibly to a body with pretty much any nearby object, blunt or sharp, or stab a spiky piece of wood through a torso to impale an invisible organ approximately 3.5” in circumference? Yeah, exactly.
That’s why, for all the lore of zombies raising from the dead and dragging their carcasses around, Hollywood eventually had to inject some vigor in to them. It’s a lot harder to figure out how to terrorize a group of unwitting survivors if the antagonist moves at a snail’s pace.
That’s why the #1 rule for surviving Zombieland is cardio. You need to be able to get away long enough to plan your attack. Even if zombies have gotten fast….they’re still pretty dumb.
Zombieland stars Jessie Eisenberg as Columbus, an amiably nerdy narrator with a written list of survival tips which he references throughout the film. Each tip is revealed seamlessly, adding not only to the film’s style, but also perfectly to its humor.
Eventually Columbus stumbles upon another survivor, Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), nicknamed after the cities they hail from. Columbus is trekking cross country to get back to his city namesake to check on the well being of his family. Tallahassee is, well, killing zombies. Like it’s his job. And I guess, in a world with no real vocations to speak of, maybe it is. Gun, banjo, hacksaw, Tallahassee uses whatever object is nearby as his weapon of choice, and does so with such gusto and energy. I guess sometimes you just have to wait for the zombie apocalypse to find your niche.
Eventually Columbus and Tallahassee stumble upon two cunning vixens, Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). After a shrew bit of chicanery, they steal Tallahassee’s truck, his gun, their pride, and yes maybe, just maybe, a little bit of their hearts.
Therein lies the success of Zombieland. It turns out to be a road trip movie with zombies as a backdrop. As a matter of fact, with the exception of the opening and closing sequences, there aren’t a whole lot of zombies in the film. It is, by turn, well acted, well shot, sweet, and, above all, hilarious, with a little bit of action thrown in. But never really any horror. It’s best to not even think of it as a zombie film, because it isn’t really. It’s turning the road trip genre on its ear, with screaming success. The Griswold’s should take note.
Written by Ryan Venson