Friday, November 6, 2009

Nut Up or Shut up

Zombieland 2009
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writers: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrellson, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone and Bill Murray

The zombie genre is one that has become inundated with many entries and many of them are not so memorable. I was hoping Zombieland would remedy this problem and it really does it very well. This is definitely one of the best entries in the genre I have seen in a long while, and many compare it to Shaun of the Dead, but they are only easily compared as they are both comedies involving zombies. Whereas Shaun at it's heart is a romantic comedy, Zombieland is a road trip film and it fires on all cylinders within that film convention. The comedy and the heart of the characters is what really propels the film and you really care for all the characters. There are no stereotypes in this film and that is an amazing thing to see in a horror film. It has some genuinely scary moments, but goes more for laughs throughout the film and almost always succeeds. This is a great hybrid of horror and comedy, and is well worth repeated viewings.
The plot basics are this, it is present day and civilization has been brought down to its knees by Mad Cow Disease and has affected humanity and turned most people into mindless flesh eating zombies. We meet Columbus (Eisenberg), an neurotic ex college student, who survives by his own book of rules and is trying to get back to Columbus to see if his parents are still alive. He meets up with Tallahassee (Harrellson) a zombie ass kicker, and they hook up, since they are both going the same way. Along the way they meat 2 girls, Wichita (Stone) and Little Rock (Breslin) who are sisters and are trying to get to a amusement park on the West Coast that they believe is zombie free. After a few misadventures they had to California and that is when a huge zombie attack is upon them and one wonders will Columbus be able to man up now or keep going with his neurotic ways?
This was an amazing film. The direction by Fleischer is amazing. He shifts from seems of over the top humor to quick and frenetic zombie attacks with great ease. It also never seems as if the 2 themes in the film are separate. The voiceover narration in the film is a great touch as well, probably the best use of a narration in a film since Blade Runner. The script is solid too, it is gut wrenchingly funny, and also has a very humanistic element throughout the film. It is a film with a lot of heart and it never feels like it is forced on you it just comes organically from the story and the performances by the cast. The cast is amazing as well, Harrellson really steals the film and this is by far his best performance since Natural Born Killers. Eisenberg as the lead is very good too, he gives a performance that never annoys you, which I am sure would have happened if they got someone like Jon Hader or Michael Cera for the part. The little bit with Heard is great as well, she is definitely one of the up and coming genre actresses with roles like this and All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. The SFX in the film is phenomenal. It has some great zombie effects, my personal favorites being Heard and the clown zombie. Definitely the best zombie make up work I have seen since the Dawn of the Dead remake. The soundtrack that the filmmakers chose is great too, every song really hits the notes that they want the viewer to feel. They have the right feel of what music works like the music in a Rob Zombie film. This is a great zombie film and a hilarious comedy as well. I highly recommend this one.
This one gets 5 out of 5

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