Recently, while looking over my list of labels on this blog, I wondered if I should scrap the “zombies” tag. After all, it had only been used once, and was a bit specific for my liking, and could be merged into the label “paranormal”. I didn’t change it, partly because I fear that in editing an old post I will accidentally delete it entirely, and partly because I am quite lazy. And then, after an invitation to the theatre on Saturday night, I had something else to write up and label as “zombies”, as, from the title, you’ve probably deducted all on your own.
I was a tad apprehensive going into the cinema, worrying that Zombieland, despite the positive noises I’d heard about it, was going to to terrible. Would it be clichéd? Too gory? Not gory enough? Populated by cheerleaders you want to see get eaten? The verdict: no, it is not any of those bad things, and it is in fact an EXCELLENT movie.
Jesse Eisenberg, aka “Columbus”, channelling Michael Cera-type awkwardness but (in my opinion) with less cringing and more swooning on my part, plays the movie’s main protagonist, a cute young thing who has found himself one of the only survivors of a zombie apocalypse due to the stringent rules he abides by. Rule number one is Cardio, and we see him outrun a couple of blood-spewing zombies in a petrol station car park in a hilarious little scene where he races to his car, fumbles his keys in the lock, drops them on the ground, swears and leads the zombies in a second lap around the car park as he gets back to his car, grabs his keys only to discover he’d left the car open. This straight away sets the scene for a whole bunch of slapstick comedy, genuinely funny lines and characters you desperately want to survive to the end.
Our unnamed hero bumps into cocky redneck Woody Harrelson, aka “Tallahassee”, who has much less strict rules (more along the lines of “nut up or shut up”) and desires nothing else but an elusive Twinkie. Soon after, they are swindled by sisters Wichita and Little Rock, because Wichita is totally hot and Little Rock is young and innocent and Abigail Breslin. Hijinks ensue, as does one of the most fantastic cameos you’ll ever come across. I won’t ruin it for you here, because it was completely fun when Tallahassee suggests they go invade celebrity homes and the one he picks is more populated than they expect.
There’s a bunch of amusing zombie squishing, like when a grandma drops a booby-trapped grand piano on one, and Tallahassee makes an art of it throughout the whole movie. To counter that, there’s a perfect amount of character development; enough so you care about the fates of all four, but not enough so that you find yourself yawning. The pace of Zombieland is virtually spot-on, and the finale big and silly enough to make me want to run up and hug the screen for making going to the movies a blast, like they’re supposed to be.
Oh, it’s not perfect; nothing is. You are left wondering how such a sparsely-populated world has working electricity, but because they do fun things with it, you don’t care. Wichita complains about never having a shower but is never anything but perfectly made up, yet because she’s so great-looking, you don’t mind that either. Occasionally the characters do something that makes you want to slap them upside the head; however, as I’ve never been in a zombie apocalypse, I can’t guarantee how sensible I would be in such situations either. Whatever its flaws, you’ll still end up walking out of the movie quoting Columbus’ rules: “Double tap!” “Beware of bathrooms!” and giggling until you start to choke on popcorn kernels.