Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland (USA, 2009) - Color, Director(s): Ruben Fleischer
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 15]
Approx. 88 min.

Z-rating: 4 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 4 stars out of 5

Starting life as a TV show, Zombieland instead became the highest grossing zombie film in the U.S. (until it was dethroned by World War Z in 2013) and the feature-length directorial debut of Ruben Fleischer. Featuring a fantastic cast of Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin. The story was very much character driven and the onscreen chemistry between these four was enough to carry the entire film, there are literally a handful of characters in the credits and the rest were zombies. Harrelson is a total bad ass who might be borderline psychotic and kills zombies with sadistic glee, Jesse Eisenberg is a socially awkward dork with OCD, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin are two cutthroat sisters who will do whatever it takes to survive. Throughout the course of the movie, we watch as these characters bond and we get to know them personally as well. The tone is a perfect balance of comedy and horror elements that makes it so much fun to watch.

Who wouldn't open the door for her?

At the start of the movie, the world is overrun by zombies thanks to a burger infected with mad cow disease. These zombies are infected rather than the undead variety. They're feverish, covered with pustules and sores, and spewing blood from every orifice. We are presented with various rules for survival narrated by Jesse Eisenberg's character, Columbus, before the intro credits kick in with Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" blaring over them. Columbus then crosses paths with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) and the two ride together before stumbling upon Wichita (Stone) and Little Rock (Breslin) at a supermarket. The sisters trick Columbus and Tallahassee, riding off with their car (twice!), before the four of them decide to stick together for awhile. From there it becomes kind of like a road trip movie with zombies. They bond along the way to an amusement park (probably the dumbest plan for survival) despite not being able to trust each other initially. Each character goes through an arc with the cowardly Columbus stepping up and becoming a hero in the end, the emotionally walled-off Tallahassee opening up about his loss of Buck, and the sisters learning they can not only trust but depend on the other two.

We should be safe here, no one will notice the bright lights and music...

Nudity: None. There's a zombie stripper in the intro chasing someone with tassels on her boobs.

Gore: Plenty. There's a ton of headshots, bludgeonings, and people getting eaten. As far as zombie films go, this is not too explicit. There isn't much in the way of intestines spilling out or anyone getting disemboweled but all the zombies look pretty nasty. There is one zombie eating someone on the highway as she makes all these slurping and munching noises. She even snaps a bone and sucks the marrow out as we watch from a distance. Tallahassee takes her out with the door as they drive by.

"Who ya gonna call?"

Awesome: Very. The movie is filled with running gags like Columbus' rules for survival and Zombie Kill of the Week. Tallahassee references Deliverance before bashing a zombie's skull in with a banjo. The cast looks like they had a lot of fun filming it, especially the scene where they destroy a gift shop. There's a surprise cameo from Bill Murray when they decide to stay at his house after arriving in Hollywood. They have a great time hanging out, playing Ghostbusters, and smoking pot out of a hookah. Speaking of small appearances, the insanely hot Amber Heard plays Columbus' neighbor, 406, during a flashback to his first encounter with zombies. Best of all, I've known plenty of people who are terrified of clowns and there's the most gnarly looking Zombie Clown at the end of the movie. I highly recommend this one because it's not just a good zombie movie, it's a good film. Call a couple friends over, grab a box of Twinkies, and settle in for a fun night.