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Overall Rating

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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by Mel Valentin

"An amusement park ride... with guts, gore, and grins."
4 stars

Just when you thought that whole undead horror sub-genre was "Dead and Buried" (sorry, couldn’t resist), along comes "Zombieland," a post-apocalyptic horror-action-comedy written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and directed by Ruben Fleischer. With a scene-stealing turn from Woody Harrelson, a painfully self-aware slacker-geek hero, a hilarious cameo from a “Big Hollywood Star,” perfect balanced horror and comedic elements, super-lean pacing, and, of course, dollops of R-rated blood and gore (to make horror fans more than happy), outrageous sight gags and one-liners, "Zombieland" will set the bar for horror-action-comedies (or, to be accurate, re-set the bar) at a higher level than it’s been in several years.

Zombieland jumps into the post-apocalyptic zombie action comedy mode almost immediately, as the un-brave, slacker-geek hero Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) lays out the rules he’s developed to survive in a zombie-eat-man-and-woman-and-child world via voiceover narration, starting with the first rule, keeping in shape (the better to outrun the fast zombies), the “double tap” (making sure recently dispatched zombies are actually “dead”), always wearing a seatbelt, and haphazardly until he gets to the seventeenth rule (don’t be a hero). At least initially, Columbus lucked out. His anti-social behavior (e.g., spending hours in front of his computer playing Worlds of Warcraft) saved him from the zombie-causing virus, even helping him spend quality time with a neighbor only identified as “406” (Amber Heard).

Post-apocalypse, however, Columbus direly needs companionship, even if he thinks (and says) otherwise. He finds a riding partner (and exact opposite), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), on a deserted stretch of highway. Tallahassee is everything Columbus isn’t: he’s fearless, obnoxious, vulgar, but easily offended. He’s a fearless zombie killer. He’s good at what he does and he takes great pleasure from killing zombies (don’t worry, there’s some backstory to partially explain his badassery). He also has a weakness for Twinkies. On one search for Twinkies inside a zombie-infested supermarket, Columbus and Tallahassee encounter Wichita (Emma Stone) and her 12-year old sister, Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). Not surprisingly, Columbus becomes smitten with Wichita, but Wichita and Little Rock have serious trust issues.

Zombies seem to hold an almost irresistible attraction for filmmakers, at least since Danny Boyle reinvigorated the undead sub-genre six years ago with 28 Days Later and Zack Snyder did the same with the 2004 remake of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg added a parodic spin to the undead sub-genre a year later with Shaun of the Dead. Zombieland picks up the fast, ravenous zombies or Infected and throws into the horror-comedy meat grinder perfected in Dan O’Bannon’s Return of the Living Dead and Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead 2 almost two decades earlier.

Luckily, Reese, Wernick, and Fleischer don’t get bogged down in homage to their favorite directors or films, but instead mix elements drawn from horror, action, comedy (splatstick, mostly, but not only), buddy film, teen romance, and road movie into a wholly entertaining mash-up. Every character gets their quirks and backstories, humorously underlined with a sight gag or one-liner, but over the length of Zombieland’s brief 83-minute running time (a running time that will leave most moviegoers clamoring for more), develops into something that’s more than the sum of its (dismembered, decapitated, distended body) parts, but an effective, affective horror-action-comedy that manages to be both gross (and disgusting) and engrossing simultaneously.

Zombies (or more specifically, killing zombies) offer the ultimate in consequence-free, guilt-free, immersive entertainment. After walking out of "Zombieland," moviegoers will understandably want to know when they can play the videogame adaptation. Apparently, the answer is “Not soon,” given that a videogame isn’t in development yet (solid box office returns could and probably would change that). Missing videogame tie-in aside, "Zombieland" is unabashedly, unashamedly gory, bloody, pop culture-quoting fun. Really what else should we ask from horror-comedy-action flicks? Not much, actually. And whatever you do, don’t look up "Zombieland" on IMDB or Wikipedia. You’ll regret it later (both reveal the “Big Hollywood Star’s” identity).

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 10/02/09 15:36:17
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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 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
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  02-Oct-2009 (R)
  DVD: 02-Feb-2010


  DVD: 02-Feb-2010

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