Yes, I’ve caught the reviewing bug again. After listlessly updating this site recently, I found myself drawn back into ranting and raving like…well, a ranting and raving thing that’s forgotten how much it likes ranting and raving. So, I decided to catch up on some of the reviews I failed to do last year. First up, “Biggest Surprise of the Year” winner at the 2009 Benjys™, Zombieland.

Zombieland (2009)

I must admit, like most misanthropes, I do find the idea of a zombie apocalypse appealing. I’m not sure how I’d do if faced with hordes of creatures who want to bite my face off, but fuck it, I’ve survived numerous trips to Merthyr Tydfil, so I reckon I could survive anywhere.

“It’s amazing how fast the world can go from “bad” to “total shitstorm”.”

After an outbreak concerning an infected burger, 99% of the World’s population are now the living impaired. We join a survivor nicknamed “Columbus” (Jesse Eisenberg) as he travels across the U.S.A. in search of his parents. Along the way he meets gun-totin’, Twinkie-huntin’ badass Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) and the sisterly team of Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). What I liked about Zombieland was the fact that it keeps things simple. The main cast (ignoring all the zombies, extras and brilliant cameos) totals about 5 people, which means we can focus on exploring the characters we’re with rather than introducing pointless, superfluous additions.

Jesse Eisenberg is pretty good as Columbus. I know every other reviewer has said this, but he really is so like Michael Cera it becomes a bit distracting. Woody Harrelson is definitely the stand-out, clearly having a whale of a time. I thought the girls’ characters were pretty annoying, really. Emma Stone shows nowhere near the amount of charm she had as Jules in Superbad and about thrice as much eye makeup. Seriously, you could insulate your fucking house with the amount of slap she has on. Abigail Breslin has gone from cute and inherently funny as Olive in Little Miss Sunshine to precocious and irritating in this flick. I suppose it’s the standard Hollywood arc of growing up, but when she is given thunderingly shit age-related lines like “Yeah, twelve’s the new twenty” it makes me want to gnash on the edge of my desk.

Zombieland is an absolute blast. It’s genuinely fun in a way that so few films are. I knew from the awesome, Metallica scored, slo-mo intro that I was going to like what it had to offer. In fact, it’s so entertaining, that it glosses over all the film’s small imperfections. Yes, the character of Columbus is just a copy/pasted nerd from every Hollywood film ever, but somehow that didn’t matter to me. One of the weirdest things about Zombieland is the tonal shifts. It starts off as a dark comedy, with delighfully gory zombie killings, but by the end it’s so cheesy, it’s squirm inducing to watch. What happened? Damned if I know, but the ending doesn’t really fit with the rest of the film. Yeah, all the loose ends are tied up, but I expected better.

“Let me begin my three-part apology by saying that you’re a wonderful human being.”

As I said, Zombieland‘s a lot of fun and definitely worth checking out. In terms of zombie comedies (zomcoms) it doesn’t trouble undisputed king Shaun of the Dead, but does enough to at least warrant a viewing. Recommended.

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