Directed by Ruben Fleischer.
Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin.
A geeky loner finds himself teaming up with a trio of strangers as they embark on a road trip across America in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse.
I’ve probably said it a million times by now but I fucking love me a zombie flick. However, despite a recent glut of undead on-screen action that zombie fans (and presumably more than a few necrophiliacs) have been dreaming about for years, a lot of it aside from The Walking Dead has fallen flat and faded into obscurity. There is but one glorious exception and, with a very overdue sequel finally hitting cinemas this week, it only makes sense that we take a look at it. It’s time to nut up or shut because we’re going to Zombieland.
I may sound hyperbolic, but everything about Zombieland is damn near perfect. The tone that knows when to emphasise the humour and pathos while also adding a healthy dollop of action and horror to proceedings for good measure. The film is possibly one of the most perfectly paced out there with nary a dull moment throughout the film’s tight 88-minute runtime.
The tight runtime ensures we are never bogged down with too much character backstory to slows the pace down, with just enough given to us so that we understand the character’s background, quickly set their up their respective arcs for the film, while still managing to make the relationships that inevitably develop between them feel organic and natural.
The cast of this film is simply perfect, with the actors effortless slipping into their respective roles with grace , humour and a helpful dose of charm.
As the Twinky obsessed badass Tallahassee, Woody Harrelson has found his Hamlet, with the ever charismatic actor having a whale of a time as a zombie killing machine who, like a Twinky, hides a soft gooey centre beneath his cynical tough-guy exterior. As geeky loner Columbus, Jesse Eisenberg is a fantastic and relatable Everyman whose funny and insightful narration serves as our guide to the “United States of Zombieland”, his anxious personality giving way to what becomes a genuinely satisfying and heroic character arc.
Emma Stone nails the spiky heroine persona in her role as Wichita, someone who has always viewed others as merely a means to an end, but one who gradually comes to care for her new travelling companions in a rather heartwarming fashion. Abigail Breslin is wonderful as Little Rock, Wichita’s mischievous sister, who projects a world-weary maturity, despite her young age, that manages to feel authentic while still retaining her childish enthusiasm for the sillier things in life.
However, the real show stopper is a comes from the one and only Bill Murray in a funny cameo in which he gamely pokes fun at himself and some of his, shall we say, less than stellar works. *cough GARFIELD cough*.
While the film’s plethora of pop culture references, quotable dialogue, and clever recurring gags, my favourite aspect of the comedy comes in the forms of the “Rules” that pop up throughout to tell us all the things we need to know if we are to survive a zombie apocalypse. They also work so well because they are not just some throwaway gag, with the repeated addition of new rules and reworking of old ones throughout the film being a unique way of highlighting the characters emotional growth.
This film also boasts one of my favourite zombie film finales. A bullet-riddled charge through a theme park in which damn near every ride is a weapon and where Harrelson reveals himself as a snakeskin clad zombie killing machine as he mows down seemingly waves of undead and having a damn good time while doing it.
The only issue with the film, and it is a minor one, is that it’s far too short, with the 88-minute runtime being not nearly long enough. If you’re like me, you’ll have such a great time in Zombieland that by the time the final credits roll you’ll be pleading for more.
When I bring these reviews to a close, I usually try to tie it all together and provide a summary of the various things that I liked or disliked about a film. Here though all you need to know is that Zombieland is fucking awesome. Go and watch it. Now.
Here’s hoping the ten-year wait for Double Tap will have proven worth it.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★/ Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★