Friday, October 30, 2009

Film Review - Zombieland

By Guest Writer Dr. P

If you only see one monster-themed movie this Halloween, make sure it's Zombieland. Big G and I plumped for this spoof zombie comedy and boy were we glad we had. By the end of the opening credits we were in hysterics, and that pretty much continued throughout.

The premise is simple (do I write that in every review!?) - the world has been overrun by zombies and the human race is virtually extinct. However tiny groups of survivors remain, and the story focuses on one pocket of these and their attempt to find some last pleasures amidst the carnage surrounding them.

The central character is "Columbus" (Adventureland's superb Jesse Eisenberg) - the movie opens with his summary of the best ways to avoid being zombiefied (these include some hilarious scenes where we are told to avoid public toilets, make sure every zombie gets a "double tap" and make sure you're always wearing a seatbelt (this bit made me laugh out loud WAYYYY too loud - the first clamp hand over mouth moment of the film)). Columbus has devised a number of ways to stay alive, and we're quickly introduced to them. The name Columbus refers to his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, to where he is hoping to escape and meet up with his parents.

On his way out of his home, he meets up with another lone survivor, "Tallahassee" (all the characters are named after places). Wonderfully played by Woody Harrelson, he's a psycho zombie ass-kicking machine who wants nothing more than to amusingly dispatch any zombie he comes across ... and find a twinky bar. Having teamed up, there's an intensely funny scene where the duo discover a confectionery delivery machine and raid it ... only to discover there are no twinkies left ... just sno-balls ...

Tallahassee: Sno-Balls? Sno-Balls? Where the f*ck are the God damn Twinkies?
Columbus: I love Sno-Balls.
Tallahassee: I HATE coconut. Not the flavor, but the consistency.

Despite their strong survival instincts, the duo soon run into trouble - not zombies or other marauding creatures, but two other survivors, the delicious Wichita (Superbad's Emma Stone) and her 12 year old sis "Little Rock". They manage to fool our heroes by pretending the little one has been zombiefield, and in the process steal their weapons and their transport!

It doesn't take long for the boys to acquire more weapons and a new truck, and they decide to follow the girls, who are headed to LA and a zombie-free amusement park! They soon catch up with the girls, who yet again try and outwit them ... but this time they all decide to team up and rely on strength in numbers.

The next phase of the movie surrounds their adventures in LA - they decide to crash Hollywood Hills and party it up in a celebrity mansion - plumping for that owned by Bill Murray, who turns out to be alive and disguised as a zombie! Having spent time there, the four head off to the amusement park for the movie's final act, where the girls get stranded on a ride and surrounded by zombies, leaving the boys to attempt a daring rescue against overwhelming odds.

This is a mightily funny and entertaining movie. Much like Shaun of the Dead, this features some outlandishly gory moments, but very much played for laughs, and some of the ways that the group come up with to mash the zombies are fabulous. These include toilet seats, hedge clippers, falling pianos and all manner of other devices. Lovely!

Big G and I must have laughed almost constantly throughout this film - if you're in need of a good giggle, and like your monster movies, this is most definitely the movie for you. The four central characters are terrific, with Woody Harrelson stealing almost every scene. Eisenberg puts in another understated and super performance too, following his terrific role in Adventureland.

Highly recommended!


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