Sunday, October 18, 2009

Zombieland ***

*** out of ****

Finally, a zombie movie for the whole family. Ha, not really, but it's close.
Zombieland is one of a few movies that shows how funny zombies really are, even in their natural environment- dark, scary places. The world has been overrun by zombies and there are only a few people left. A group of four such people are traveling across the country in hopes of finding something or somebody safe. Jesse Eisenberg plays pretty much the exact same character he played in Adventureland, the insecure virgin. But where his Adventureland character lost credibility and became boring, his Zombieland character prevails and turns these insecurities into strengths. See, he has a running list of strict rules for surviving in the United States of Zombieland: keep your cardio up, always check the backseat, and beware of dead-end bathrooms, a feeding ground for the undead. He hitchhikes with a redneck badass with a shaved head in the form of Woody Harrelson (The People Vs. Larry Flynt). This guy has no rules and kills zombies just for fun. They meet up with two con artist sisters, played by the gorgeous Emma Stone (Superbad) and the spunky Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine). After being tricked by the girls- twice- they finally join forces with them to survive. A splendid amusement-park finale gives the title its true meaning.
The film is filled with not only gut-wrenching gore and killings, but with plenty of crude physical comedy and pop-culture references. ("What's the best thing about Zombieland?" "No more Facebook status updates!") While the emotional part of the story falls short, it makes up for it with its laugh-a-minute style that never gets old. (Of course, the movie's less than an hour and a half long. It's hard for anything to get old in that time.) Bill Murray has a funny cameo- as himself, of course- but frankly, it could've been funnier. And- wouldn't you believe it- the film actually manages a few real scares.
Zombieland is not wacky enough- and too self-serious- to be a parody. It is exactly what it is, a zombie comedy/horror film that's more concerned with its characters than the flesh-eating villains, and sacrifies suspense for violence and laughs. It's not for every taste, but for anyone with a slightly sick sense of humor, this is definitely your dish.
I would recommend this movie to horror fans and anyone who likes dark comedies.

You can watch the trailer here:

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