Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer
For Day 15 of 31 Days of Horror we have Zombieland. In the 2009 horror comedy a shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the last Twinkie, and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America.
Let’s face it – zombies aren’t scary. It’s not that they can’t be (see films like 28 Days Later and the OG Night of the Living Dead) but the reality is they’ve been done to death (no pun intended) and it’s super hard to make ANY movie with zombies as its main gimmick scary. So why not go for the laughs instead?
That’s what they did in Zombieland and that choice, and some truly talented actors, is why this movie is considered one of the best horror-comedies out there. Jessie Eisenberg narrates the story and plays a young nerdy type calling himself Columbus, Ohio (after his hometown) and from the opening credits, the movie wastes no time in showing us it’s going for something different. You see Columbus has a set or guidelines or rules to survive this insanity, rules which pop up in large on-screen graphics, punctuating the comedic nature of the film.
He eventually meets up with Woody Harrelson’s Tallahassee. He’s a man’s man, who prefers to go for the “Zombie Kill of the Week” by using anything BUT guns to take them out, and who immediately butts heads with our titular geek. On their strange little road trip they come across the sexy and smart Wichita (Emma Stone) and her plucky younger sister, Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). And after a series of unfortunate events, they all team up for the long haul.
The zombie kills by the way are inventive and deliciously awesome, with the finale in the Carnival taking us on a adrenaline-fueled ride that feels and looks like a video game come to life. Comedy is key here and director Rueben Fleisher never loses sight of this. The absolute funniest moment in the film is also super meta as our gang ends up at Bill Murray’s palatial mansion and decides to bunk down there, only to meet the man himself! Roger Ebert once said, “Bill Murray is the first comedian since Jack Benny who can get a laugh simply by standing there.” After watching this entire scene play out, I totally get what he means. Absolute perfection.
Though two very different type of zombie-based tales, The Walking Dead and Zombieland have something in common, as the zombies are used more as a plot device than as any “real” threat. It’s not that they can’t kill you, the one serious moment in Zombieland (delivered with perfection by Woody Harrelson) show zombies are very much a problem to these folks and can do serious damage. But like TWD, it’s the living we’re interested in, and these actors take what could’ve easily been a cheesy, silly story and turn it into a hilarious and memorable movie worth re-watching time and time again.
This film also bares that rare distinction, of having a sequel which was equally as funny as the original (I actually enjoyed the sequel just a tad more), but this is the movie that started it all. And let’s hope if we ever get to visit Zombieland for a third time, it’s just as gory, funny and full of energy as this one was.
Sommer’s Score: 7.5 out of 10
So are you a fan of Zombieland? For part 14 of 31 Days of Horror and my review of Let the Right One In you can click here. And for more horror film reviews that always nut-up you can like and follow Redmangoreviews on Facebook here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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