June 16, 2010


This film is really the American version of Shaun of the Dead.  I know that some people will not like that, but a zombie comedy film, it is hard not to make comparisons between the two films.  They are both good in their own ways, but Zombieland has the standard to live up to, whereas Shaun of the Dead didn’t.

The story follows Columbus, a loner college student who has managed to survive the zombie apocalypse and is now fighting his way back to Columbus, Ohio.  Columbus isn’t his real name, it is where he is from originally, but no one goes by their real names.  He is one of few who have survived in the world of zombies because of being fairly anal about a list of rules.  The first rule is cardio because, as Columbus puts it, the first to go were the fatties.  They continue on with beware of bathrooms and always doubletap.  He meets up with Tallahassee, man without a care in the world who seems to basically love taking out zombies.  A contender for the zombie killer of the week.  Together they set out across the country where they run into Wichita and Little Rock, two girls who have been conning their way across the country, trying to relive a happy memory of Little Rock’s of an amusement park.  They steal Tallahassee’s vehicle and their weapons and take off.  Columbus and Tallahassee track them down and they all go off to Los Angeles together and Columbus falls for Wichita.

When it comes down to it, there isn’t a ton of a story to this film, it really is more about the characters and how to survive a zombie apocalypse than anything.  The performances are pretty good.  Jesse Eisenberg plays his typical role of the kind of nice guy who doesn’t have much of any motivation of cares.  It is a very predictable role for him, but one that he fills in well.  The star stealing performance is by Woody Harrelson who is Tallahassee.  Someone who can take out zombies with the flair that he does has to be a favorite character from the film.  Harrelson is someone who does a bunch of odd films, but really can play a wide variety of roles.  Emma Stone, from Superbad, and Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine, fill out the other two main characters.  The rest of the talent doesn’t show up all that much because besides these four we only meet one or two other humans and they don’t last long.  Stone and Breslin both do solid jobs in their roles, but the zombie violence and the focus on Columbus in this film really don’t give them as much to work with.  The other performance that people love is the cameo by Bill Murray (albeit a short lived one).  He delivers one of the better lines in the film as well and he is playing Bill Murray in the film.

Visually this film has some great zombie killings.  They range from the pretty normal (shooting them) to the completely absurd (dropping a piano on top of them).  Ruben Fleischer does a good job with this film and what he is given.  He gets good performances and he keeps the action moving along nicely.  The amount he has to work with in terms of story, which is really just the vehicle for zombie killing.  I think that is the biggest difference between Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland.  Shaun of the Dead creates more of a story and focuses on an almost more sophisticated (or maybe off the wall subtler type of humor) whereas Zombieland is pretty straight forward with it’s humor and focus more on the action.

This is definitely a good film and is a funny film in its own rights.  I personally prefer Shaun of the Dead just for the type of humor that it is, but the fact that there is a Zombieland 2 in the works is a good thing.  If they get the whole cast to return, I’ll likely check it out in theaters.  Definitely a very funny film.

Entertainment Grade: B+

Critical Grade: A-

Overall Grade: A-


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