Reviewed on 2009 October 2
This is a very good entree in the horror comedy genre, offering a noisy, dark, and uniquely American alternative to Shaun of the Dead. While Shaun was dry and introspective, this was flakier and more cheerfully vulgar, including the brief explanation of how the whole mess started. Both bring something unique to the table, but if you want to see Woody Harrelson laying zombies to waste, this is for you.
Zombieland hits the ground running, with Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” blasting as a nameless reluctant hero (Jesse Eisenberg) explains both why the world is overrun with flesh-eating ghouls and how he managed to stay alive. Our man, who later earns the nickname Columbus, is a nerd, but a cunning and brave one, facing his fears and fighting seemingly endless numbers of zombies (with occasional breaks to find a zombie-free bathroom). As he tries to find a safer place, he encounters Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a laconic tough guy that likes big expensive SUVs and bigger guns. If the fussy Columbus won’t drive him crazy, and covers his back when he stops for junk food, maybe he’ll let him ride with him part of the way.
It lagged a little in the middle, and so what? It was still a lot of fun, and for everything I saw coming, there was something else that snuck up on me. In addition to reminding me of Shaun of the Dead, the early scenes when it’s just Eisenberg and Harrelson also call to mind a very sick version of one of those Hope and Crosby “Road” movies. Abigail Breslin and Emma Stone also turn in a great performance (and hold their own against the undead).
Three chocolate morsels, and a Twinkie (not deep-fried).