TAGLINE: "Nut up or shut up."
ENTIRE STORY IN AS FEW WORDS AS POSSIBLE:
Uninfected living hit the road to look for America, but only find zombies...they have fun, anyway!
A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE CAN BE FUN? REALLY?
You betcha! Films with both comedy and horror are few and far between, especially ones done well...flicks like the monster movie "Tremors" with Kevin Bacon and "Shaun of the Dead" are fewer than you think. "Zombieland" also straddles that broad line between the funny and the bloody, and does so with an energy and sense of fun you have to experience to really appreciate. We're introduced to this parallel universe gone haywire by Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), a loner and uber-geek who survived the onset of the zombie apocalypse because he didn't have any friends, and sure didn't go looking for them. His life has been defined by his fears, and so is his survival in a world all but dead. Think a very young Woody Allen, but much less neurotic.
It's a long, strange trip across the United States of Zombieland for Columbus as he hooks up with fellow survivor Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a gun-happy redneck with his own issues, the most important being his obsession with Twinkies. They have a love-hate relationship with each other *and* with Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), a pretty pair of grifters who rob our guys twice! Can they all just get along, or will their final destination be final in a terminal way?
SO IS IT GOOD?
If you love movies with zombies and haven't seen "Zombieland", rectify that now! This film delivers not just as a 'zomedy' in the same twisted vein as "The Return of the Living Dead" and "Shaun of the Dead", it sort of brings the subgenre of undead horror to its logical conclusion, by finding *the bright side* to the zombie apocalypse. Think about it. In a living, civilized world, there's still stuff like rules and laws. But if the world's come to an end, you can pretty much go anywhere and do anything you want, with the one 'however' being most of the time you'll have to be on the lookout for snarling zombies!
The fun in "Zombieland" comes from watching the characters use that sense of freedom in spite of their personal baggage. It's Columbus and Tallahassee we find out the most about...the nerdy Columbus made a list of survival rules defined by his fears, while the go-getting Tallahassee is an ass-kicker in equal magnitude to the personal tragedy he won't talk about but clearly wants to forget. Wichita and Little Rock, while highly mercenary at first, warm to the guys as we discover what they most fear to lose as they focus on reaching an amusement park in California. At one point, all four characters enjoy some catharsis when they find a mostly-intact trading post and then wreck everything inside. (Honestly, I'd want to shoot zombies to improve my mood if I was in their shoes!) And I'm not about to spoil what happens after they reach a certain estate in Beverly Hills...!
OKAY, BUT WAS THERE PLENTY OF BLOOD AND GORE?
There's plenty of gory stuff in the first five minutes of the film alone! At the start we're given a look at how things in the USA broke down after the zombie infection hit, and introduced to the first of Columbus' rules for surviving zombies. Let's just say there's good reasons for his living by those rules! By and large, most of the violence is living against Infected...you know, high caliber bullets and blunt force trauma, among other more creative ways. Most of the zombie kills are splatstick, played for laughs, like an instance involving a falling piano! "Zombieland" also ranks up there with the "Dawn of the Dead" remake in sheer volume of undead getting dispatched, especially when the movie reaches its amusement park climax.
THE MORAL OF THIS STORY:
Travel *can* bring people closer together. It definitely might not be a good idea to make yourself up as a zombie and then surprise someone packing heat. Last but not least: keep in good running shape, double-tap Infected bastards in the skull, beware of bathrooms, and always buckle up...just live by those rules (and many others!), and maybe you too can survive a zombie apocalypse!