Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Zombieland - Awesomely Original Take On A Familiar Theme

Review by Chris Keller
First things first – Zombieland is not Shaun of The Dead. It’s not an unofficial sequel, remake, rehash, reinvention, “re-imagination” or any of the other code words big studios use to hide their lack of creativity or originality. While Zombieland’s rookie director Ruben Fleischer openly admits that Shaun inspired him to make this film, this often hilarious take on zombie lore is very much its own movie.
Fleischer does something different right from the start, refusing to name his characters and instead referring to them by the name of their hometown cities throughout. Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is a nerdy recluse content to sitting in his dorm room for weeks at a time, spending his days playing World of Warcraft and drinking Code Red Mountain Dew. He’s basically a zombie himself, until almost the entire human population turns into some very real, brain-eating zombies. Fleischer (smartly) doesn’t bother to bog down his movie showing how exactly the infection happened; he takes the human approach, letting us see what exactly would happen if zombies overran the Earth while we were hooked to our video games, DVRs, Facebooks, or Twitters. Columbus learns how to survive his new surroundings by adopting a list of 31 rules, which are creatively displayed for us through interactive graphics onscreen.
Soon enough, Columbus meets up with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson at his best in years), and through a comic faux-tragedy, Wichita (a smoky Emma Stone) and her little sister, Little Rock (Abigail Breslin, finally doing something different). From here on, it becomes Woody Harrelson’s movie. He’s in top form, having a ball killing zombies in the most inventive ways anyone can think of and playfully picking on meek, timid Columbus. Woody shows us he’s still got that impeccable comedic timing that we haven’t seen since his days starring alongside his good buddy Wesley Snipes in the 90s. Jesse Eisenberg holds his own at times, elevating his usual Michael Cera impression shtick to play wonderfully off the brash Tallahassee.
This is probably the most creative, original, intelligent zombie farces of all time, easily holding its own against the aforementioned British counterpart. At times, Zombieland is flawed – mostly when the Sony cuts corners on the zombie CGI. In one particular amusement park death, the effects are worse than the benchmark in terrible zombie CGI – 2007’s I Am Legend. But thanks to perfect casting, brilliant direction, and maybe one of the best cameos of all time that is too enjoyable to be spoiled here, Zombieland is one of the best comedies of the year and will stand as a certain high point in the zombie comedy genre.
4 / 5 stars

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