Zombieland shows us how zombie movies should be done



Like vampires, zombies have grown in popularity. With Max Brooks’ two hit books, The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War and other literary ventures into zombies like the remake of Pride and Prejudice dubbed into Pride Prejudice and Zombies. Zombies are becoming the hot new thing and the recent hit Zombieland is no different.

Zombieland follows four survivors who, rather then call each other by their names, refer to each other by their intended destinations – Columbus, Wichita, Little Rock and Tallahassee. Each played by Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin and Woody Harrelson respectively, as they band together and travel the country each looking for a special thing in the destroyed world, be it family, an amusement park or even a Twinkie.

Part of what makes Zombieland such a great horror comedy isn’t just the characters, it’s the actors who play them. Some of you readers might say “of course, it’s an actor’s job to play a part.” But I say no, an actor must not only be able to play a part but also the way they are just has to feel right and that’s what Zombieland does great.

The lead character Columbus, played by the new nerdy underdog poster boy Jesse Eisenberg, is a reclusive nerd who used to sit in his apartment and play World of Warcraft all night before the zombies came. After it happens he decides that he has to venture out into the world and find whatever might remain of his family.

Now out in Hollywood there’s probably dozens of people who could’ve done this role but Eisenberg did it right. The nervousness off being out in the world and panic at dealing with zombies seems so natural that you know someone like Michael Cera couldn’t have done it any better.

Then there’s my favorite character Tallahassee, played fantastically by Woody Harrelson, he’s the embodiment of a zombie killing badass. Throughout the film he takes down the undead with any tool available, be it the usual bullet to the head or something less conventional like a banjo.

He’ll not only take down a zombie with skill but he’ll usually say something hilarious which only serves to make it even sweeter. This is another actor who is the perfect choice for the character of Tallahassee, someone who balanced humor, a bit of insanity and could handle some drama as well.

What else makes Zombieland so great is that it doesn’t take itself that seriously. Like 2004’s British ‘Rom/Com/Zom’ Shaun of the Dead, this film can make an apocalyptic situation funny, unlike darker zombie films such as Dawn of the Dead.

Like when Tallahassee has a flashback to before the zombies when he had a puppy and he’s doing cutesy things like giving it bubble baths or feeding it pancakes. It’s a hilarious contrast to the foul-mouthed, zombie massacring, bad-ass we see in the present.

Then there are Columbus’ rules for surviving the zombies which we learn in the beginning through funny gruesome examples. Rule number one, cardio, cuts to a fat man running across a field being chased by a zombie in slow-mo. Every bounce and jiggle is captured wonderfully before the zombie pounces on the fat man and leaves the audience in laughter.

I like almost everything about this film. It’s got humor, violence, gore, zombies, and Woody Harrelson to kill the zombies.

If you take can take a minute away from your zombie video games, zombie books and zombie comic books I seriously suggest you go see this movie, you won’t be disappointed.