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Overall Rating
3.45

Awesome: 21.84%
Worth A Look41.38%
Average: 8.05%
Pretty Bad: 17.24%
Total Crap: 11.49%

5 reviews, 57 user ratings


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Zombieland
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by Peter Sobczynski

"I Road-Tripped With A Zombie"
4 stars

“Zombieland” is a film that comes to theaters with a couple of strikes already against it. For starters, it is a movie that tries to combine the comedy and horror genres and as we learned a couple of weeks ago from the disastrous “Jennifer’s Body,” maintaining the proper balance between the two tones is a difficult proposition for even the most skilled filmmakers. Then there is the fact that it focuses on zombies and while those creatures may not be as ubiquitous as vampires these days, there has been enough of a glut of films involving the flesh-eating undead over the last few years to cause even the most devoted fans of such things to question the need for yet another one. Finally, the film’s basic comedic premise--people trying to cope with a world suddenly overrun with zombies--is one that has already been explored at such considerable length in the likes of “Shaun of the Dead” and the Max Brooks guidebook “The Zombie Survival Guide” that most people would be hard-pressed to think of a joke on the subject that hadn’t already been deployed at some point. These are the kinds of daunting problems that might have caused most ordinary films to stumble right out of the gate but miraculously, not only does “Zombieland” not stumble at any point, it actually grows and thrives along its splat-sticky way in such a way that it earns itself a place on the same shelf as such classics as “Evil Dead 2” and, yes, “Shaun of the Dead.”

Set in the wake of a disaster that has transformed most of the population of America (and presumably elsewhere) into zombies with great speed, impressive numbers and an insatiable taste for human flesh--there is some talk of it being caused by a form of mad-cow diseased inspired by tainted hamburgers--the film stars Jesse Eisenberg as Columbus, a young man who fear of social situations and an obsessive-compulsive disorder that drives him to create rules for everything have allowed him to so far survive the onslaught without losing his mind to loneliness or his body parts to his formerly human neighbors. On the road to Ohio to see if his parents are still alive, he comes across another human survivor in the form of Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a good ol’ boy who is simultaneously obsessed with killing zombies in the most creative ways imaginable and with rounding up as many of mankind’s final Twinkies as possible. (His biggest nightmare is stumbling upon an abandoned Hostess truck and finding it filled with nothing but Sno-Balls.) Eventually, the two come across a pair of sisters, Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who are heading west for an amusement park in California that is supposedly zombie-free. Columbus and Tallahassee decide to go along for the ride and along the way, the four kill a lot of zombies, make one wholly unexpected detour and arrive at the park only to discover that it doesn’t come quite as advertised.

In essence, “Zombieland” is pretty much a one-joke movie for the most part, one of the delightful things about it is how director Ruben Fleischer and screenwriters Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick take that single joke and spin it off in hilarious and sometimes unexpected directions, most of which I cannot even hint at so as not to spoil any of the gags (in both senses of the word).. Many people will no doubt compare this film to “Shaun of the Dead” and while it does have some inevitable similarities, it actually plays more like a weirdo version of “National Lampoon’s Vacation” with more corpses on display than Imogene Coca than anything else--a literal road trip through Hell with an amusement park serving as a symbol of peace and deliverance (if only they could have figured out a way to get a zombie John Candy in there as a security guard.)--and while it may seem weird to praise a film for more closely resembling one older movie instead of another one, this approach does make the material seem a little fresher than it might have otherwise seemed. The four stars do a good job of bouncing off of each other while somehow figuring out how to ground the increasingly surreal comedy in real emotions--Harrelson is exceptionally good as a borderline psycho with a foul-mouthed quip and a gory method of dispatch for every occasion and an understandable reason for why he is the way he is. On the genre-straddling front, it is refreshing to note that while it does lean more towards the humorous, it does have a couple of actual scares here and there (the early scene in which Columbus is attacked in his apartment by newly zombified neighbor Amber Heard is both funny and tense) and it certainly doesn’t skimp on the red stuff. Finally, and most importantly, it knows when enough is enough--the film clocks in at a lean and mean 90 minutes and wisely comes to a conclusion at just the point when it might have begun to finally run out of gas.

However, the funniest segment of “Zombieland”--the one that would make the whole thing worth seeing even if the rest of it had misfired--is the one that only a complete monster would dream of revealing in total to someone who hasn’t had a chance to see it. Without going into detail, I will only mention that during the aforementioned unexpected detour, they come across perhaps the last person that you would expect to see in these circumstances and in perhaps the last condition that you might expect to see them in. (However, do not under any circumstances click on to the “Zombieland” page at IMDB because the monsters in charge over there have listed the person in the credits and who they play.) What transpires from this point, I leave for you to discover except to note only a couple of things. First, the scene allows the film to pay explicit tribute to another notable scare comedy whose bent sense of humor was clearly and influence here. Second--if the final on-screen words uttered by this person do not cause you to actually hit the floor rolling with uncontrollable laughter, you may want to check your pulse because there is a very good chance that you may be a zombie as well.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=18370&reviewer=389
originally posted: 10/02/09 14:00:00
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: Fantastic Fest 2009 For more in the Fantastic Fest 2009 series, click here.

User Comments

9/25/13 David Hollingsworth A fresh and fun take on the zombie film. 5 stars
5/30/11 RLan Who would have thought it! A fun movie about zombies. 4 stars
2/19/11 art IT MAKES you SICK!!!!,or cause you to, choke on your POPCORN! 1 stars
1/02/11 Jessica Canavan I'm a geek and proud of it, but this film was just horrid; gross and not funny. 2 stars
11/29/10 mr.mike Grinds to a halt once they arrive at BM's, 3 stars
10/09/10 robzomby shaun of the dead it ain't. poor choices for the female leads 2 stars
9/21/10 art NOT BAD,but all ROMERO zombies flick's from NOTD to LOTD STINK!!!! 3 stars
8/10/10 Chad Dillon Cooper Limp Shaun of the dead zomcom. 2 stars
3/30/10 aperson A very funny film. You Sir are a troll. 5 stars
3/15/10 Mathew poop, really disappointed 1 stars
3/14/10 chris Holy crap, that was a boring movie. Just some kids babbling in a car. 1 stars
3/13/10 johnny The people that made this are rich, and your an internet film critic, need i say more? 1 stars
3/11/10 Richard Brandt I liked the tone shift when after the surprise cameo came an even more stunning revelation. 4 stars
3/03/10 Stanley Thai A very funny film with a sincere and humane side to it. 4 stars
2/26/10 Brian Expected low review from someone who gave the Twilight movies a better grade than Iron Man. 4 stars
2/07/10 art NOT BAD,but white ZOMBIE and ZomBIE,take the CAKE! 3 stars
1/14/10 Mike It's been years since I turned off a movie part-way through. Utter crap. 1 stars
12/29/09 art IF YOU HAVE A WEIRD SENSE OF HUMOR,this is your MOVIE! 3 stars
12/26/09 Chad Dillon Cooper Hollywood Hostess twinkie comedy. No wonder it was a big hit. 1 stars
12/15/09 geo Absolutely awful. Nothing remotely funny in it. 1 stars
12/12/09 anon Holy shit i'm sick of film critics over analysing every movie they come across. Funny movie 5 stars
12/11/09 Willie Stroker Your mums fundamentally lazy and witless you retard this is a 5 star movie 5 stars
12/10/09 David A. This intentionally corny-to-excess film takes spoofing to a whole new level. 3 stars
12/05/09 Sarah Hilarious film, I enjoyed it. This review does the movie absolutely no justice. It's great! 4 stars
12/02/09 Wilson Parasiuk Review is on. Why does this movie fair well with audiences? 1 stars
11/30/09 Kyaa FUNNY MOVIE! (if you have 15yo or less, otherwise its a borring shiet) 3 stars
11/29/09 Scuba Steve Funny movie. Similiar to"Zombie Survival Guide" 5 stars
11/29/09 Aaron Commareri Great Bloody Fun! 5 stars
11/22/09 green meanie some people don't understand things they can't pigeonhole.. like this critic 4 stars
11/19/09 jon Wow. Somebody really doesnt like nerds. Thanks for insulting WoW gamers everyware. jerk. 5 stars
11/10/09 Bill Ripkin I'm appreciating how everyone giving this movie positive feedback sounds like a 12 year old 1 stars
11/09/09 Jonathan Borthwick Other than the "celebrity" bash, your review was very accurate. Movie was pointless. 1 stars
11/07/09 LH Disappointing in that none of the key characters were eaten 2 stars
11/07/09 shane how are you a film critic? you have no clue lol 4 stars
11/03/09 Dave You're looking for social and political commentary? You REALLY missed the point... 5 stars
11/03/09 KingNeutron I liked it - good casting + performances -- definitely hoping for a sequel! 4 stars
10/29/09 Dudebro This movie was better then Shawn! Shawn had to much bland comedy. 5 stars
10/28/09 Shaun Your life must really suck. Have you ever laughed? I'll be not. 5 stars
10/27/09 Aaron One of the best zombie movies yet. This guy doesn't know what he is talking about. 5 stars
10/26/09 Jon You are fundamentally lazy and witless. Next time actually watch the movie you review! 5 stars
10/25/09 alex the film was tuly amazing. i don't know how you can give it such a bad review. 5 stars
10/18/09 Paul A completely enjoyable and hilarious film followed up by a terrible review. 5 stars
10/18/09 Dude Could have been better but not muvh 4 stars
10/17/09 ThisMovie WasGreat, I don't think you actually paid attention, because you're missing many points. 5 stars
10/16/09 tim my favorite zombie movie by far. this reviewer is an idiot and should be shot. they are pro 5 stars
10/15/09 Big Ben only watch if you looking a witless movie with underdeveloped characters 2 stars
10/15/09 Hart Joanie liked it on her smoke break. Good enough for me. 3 stars
10/15/09 Excellence This doesn't even compare to Shaun of the Dead. 2 stars
10/13/09 Pip enjoy the simple things in life laugh a little think less why else watch a movie? 5 stars
10/13/09 BOB Crap review. I don't lool to Zombie movies for social & political commentry, try the news. 4 stars
10/13/09 Collin Great review! thank you for not buying into the hype 2 stars
10/13/09 jake i didnt know movie critics had all that much more of a life compared to those who play WoW 5 stars
10/12/09 Tg You must be a blast at parties... 4 stars
10/07/09 The Grinch Mr. Childress, thanks for not giving away one of the coolest scenes, unlike IMabigDumBass 5 stars
10/06/09 PAUL SHORTT STRAINED, VIOLENT AND EMPTY 2 stars
10/06/09 Man Out 6 Bucks Felt unscripted: merely ad-libbed as the film rolled. A TV movie with a big screen budget. 2 stars
10/06/09 MARIA WILLIG One of the funniest films this year! 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Oct-2009 (R)
  DVD: 02-Feb-2010

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Oct-2009
  DVD: 02-Feb-2010




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