Saturday, October 3, 2009


Directed by Ruben Fleischer

Jesse Eisenberg
Woody Harrelson
Emma Stone

Another month, another zombie apocalypse. Zombieland doesn't break any new ground so much as cast a more humorous slant on the genre's tropes, much like Shawn of the Dead. But whereas Shawn preferred to riff on classic films, Zombieland is more directly influenced by zombie video games like Dead Rising or Left 4 Dead. The rules of surviving a zombie apocalypse (don't use public bathrooms, double tap in the head) are displayed prominently for the audience's benefit. And unlike most video game-to-movie translations, Zombieland works precisely because it understands what gamers love about zombie games: brutal carnage as the heroes slaughter the undead in creative ways.

The story, unfortunately, is fairly predictable. Jesse Eisenberg (doing his best Michael Cera impersonation) plays Columbus, a sad-sack nerd who survives the first outbreak of zombie flu because he's so isolated. Like all Hollywood leading men, he has to learn the values of love and manly courage. To help him with the former, he meets the lovely but devious Emma Stone. But most of the film follows Columbus as he hitches a ride with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a borderline lunatic who's become a zombie-killing artiste. And there's a very funny cameo by a former Ghostbuster.

There honestly isn't much more to say about Zombieland. If watching Woody Harrelson beat zombies with a baseball bat appeals to you, you'll probably enjoy this flick. The rest of the film amounts to a reasonably entertaining diversion.

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