The thing about Zombieland is that it’s not really about zombies – they are present and they are responsible for the story, but they’re not important. Zombieland is a hilarious buddy comedy that uses a zombie apocalypse as the basis for some really funny stuff. Along with (500) Days Of Summer, this was my favourite ‘little’ movie of the summer.
Zombieland is about Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg – from Adventureland to Zombieland in a summer) and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), survivors of the zombie apocalypse who join forces to increase their chances of survival (although Tallahassee doesn’t really need any help). Columbus is a dweeby guy who has come up with rules to survive (‘2. Double Tap’, ‘3. Beware of bathrooms’, ’18. Limber up’, ’31. Check your backseats’), which pop up through the film on screen to highlight their importance, and as an indicator that this is a film that knows about zombies. Tallahassee on the other hand is in his element, enjoying his ability to put an end to zombies in the most interesting ways possible, while he searches not for family or friends, but for Twinkies. Together, they make the classic oddball team, and provide the majority of laughs.
There are women in the story (Wichita [Emma Stone] and Little Rock [Abigail Breslin]) and romance rears its head, but they are a little underwritten and don’t make up the bulk of the film. In addition to the hilarious cameo, it’s the comedy and action that are the draw here. The director, Ruben Fleischer, said that he was inspired by Shaun Of The Dead – some people have suggested theft – but this is a different film and its own entity, and can stand up to be measured against the British forerunner. It’s funny, outrageous, over the top (in a good way) and, even though I don’t think it needs it, worthy of the sequel that has been greenlit.