Sunday, June 27, 2010

Zombieland Review

Zombies are a part of the horror genre that's seen a real strong resurgence over the last few years. They're in popular media everywhere from films, to games, to books and they come in many different forms. From rotting corpses to virus infected humans to alien parasites or cybernetic organisms, the concept of the horror zombie is well fleshed out.

In 2004, Shaun of the Dead was released, merging the zombie horror genre with romantic comedy, and it was a wonderfully funny film holding my personal favourite zombie comedy spot. That is, until now. Last night, thanks to TMN, I finally got to sit down and watch Zombieland and I absolutely loved it. Filled with style, humour, and wonderfully quarky characters, Zombieland redefines the zombie comedy.

Set within post-apocalyptic America two months after a new strain of virus turns people into excessively violent cannibals (so like many modern zombie films, the "infected" aren't actually zombies but close enough), "Columbus" (Jesse Eisenberg) is making his way from Texas to Columbus, Ohio in the hopes that his parents are still alive. The stereotypical World of Warcraft playing nerd, Columbus has survived the apocalypse due to his set of rules that always see him prepared. These rules form a core theme of the film, with their text always popping up in creative ways throughout the movie when they are or should have been practiced.

Shortly into his journey, Columbus comes across "Tallahassee," (Woody Harrelson) a rough and tough zombie killer grieving the loss of his puppy and on a mission to find some Twinkies. This quest leads the pair to discover two other survivors, "Wichita" (Emma Stone) and "Little Rock," (Abigail Breslin) sisters who promptly con them out of their weapons and vehicle. Of course Tallahassee and Columbus go after them, and thus begins the quartet of wonderful character dynamics.

You see, for a film called "Zombieland" and for a film about a zombie apocalypse, there really aren't a lot of zombies (or "infected" if you're being technical) in it at all. The true focus of Zombieland is on the survivors and their conflicting quarks and interactions with each other, and they're hilarious!

Now, since this is technically a zombie film, there is some blood and gore, but it's nothing horribly excessive. In fact, the zombies themselves don't look overly scary and rarely are there moments that will make you jump. The film really is about the comedy, and there's many laughs to be had in every scene, even when some yutz is getting chomped on.

Wichita and Little Rock are on a quest of their own, to reach Pacific Playland, an LA amusement park that's rumoured to be zombie free. You see, if you're trying to survive a zombie apocalypse going to an amusement park in a large urban centre makes perfect sense. And of course Columbus and Tallahassee end up along for the ride. Though, like many paths in life, it's not the destination that matters, or, well, I suppose it does in this case, but the journey's important too and it's along this road that the survivors learn all about one another and annoy the crap out of each other.

With wonderful plays off each other, beautifully written dialogue, and an absolutely fantastic cameo appearance by Bill Murray (Bill Murray), Zombieland had me cracking up for the entire length of the film. I highly recommend the movie to anyone looking for a good way to spend an hour and a half, and I hear a sequel is in the works, which I'm greatly looking forward to.

No comments: