From the moment I first saw the first trailer, I was hooked. I've been anticipating this movie for so long, I can't even say. Any of my more ardent readers might be able to tell you that Shaun of the Dead is basically my favorite movie. And as this is supposed to be what is essentially its American cousin, it was a no brainer (no pun intended) that I would be going to this. In other words, I had expectations so terribly high that I was setting myself up for the ultimate disappointment. Fortunately, the movie met my unbelievable expectations... and then some.

The earth has been taken over by a zombie virus, turning it into what the main characters call Zombieland. And each of the main characters are (essentially) named after where the characters are headed (or from). Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is a worrisome rule-follower, having a whole set of rules that have apparently kept him alive in Zombieland thus far. But when the meek Columbus meets the badass Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), they form an unlikely friendship. Columbus is on his way to, well, Columbus, Ohio to see if his family is still alive. Tallahassee, on the other hand, is just enjoying the little things in life and searching for Earth's last twinkie (trust me, in context, it's not as ridiculous as it sound). Then the two men stumble upon a couple of con artist sisters, Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), on their way to Hollywood to visit a theme park so Little Rock can enjoy the little bit of childhood she has left.

And that's about it. The movie is more about the characters than the plot, really. Eisenberg plays his Columbus in his usual Michael Cera-esque nervousness. Emma Stone is just really freakin' hot (and sassy). Abigail isn't Little Miss Sunshine anymore, and has pulled in a bit of spunk. And the fact that Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin play con artists was just the icing on the cake, as (again) my readers should know how much I like con artist/heist films. And Woody Harrelson was born for the role of Tallahassee. Seriously, that man stole every scene he was in, which is a lot of them (though I was disappointed that the movie left out the line "I love the *beep* out of this song" from the trailer). I think the only times he was one-upped was during the much discussed extended cameo scene of a specific actor who anybody who knows anything about this movie, or has just looked at imdb, already knows about (but which I will not spoil for those who don't/haven't).

One aspect of this type of film that a lot in this genre (horror/comedy) have trouble with is finding a perfect blend of horror and comedy. Either they focus too much on the horror and the comedy feels off-putting (or they use the wrong kind of humor and it backfires), or they focus too much on the humor and the horror feels almost out of place. This movie found that balance. One of my favorite bits was the running gag of the rules for survival, as any zombie fanatic (like myself) just likes to come up with their own survival rules from time to time... or has read Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide.

But the suspense is there, too. Occasionally, they'll stop at a store or something like that, and they'll have to fight a zombie or two. But the best bits? Towards the beginning and at the end. The beginning bits with Columbus (both in his introduction and in the flashback sequence) is both funny and frightening. But then you have the climax, which has to be one of the coolest zombie action scenes ever... not to mention one of the best uses of a set-piece ever. They really did not waste any inch of that theme park during the climax. It was suspenseful and all-around brilliant. However, I do want to warn the squeamish, this movie does have a lot of blood and gore in it. Sometimes they pull away, but sometimes they don't pull away at all and you see every hit or bite. It's not torture porn-level or anything. It didn't make me queasy. But a lot of people have weaker stomachs than me, so just a head's up. On the upside, they mix in a ton of humor around the times of gore, so the grossness is often offset by the comedy (if that helps at all).

I really don't know what else to say about the movie. Not only is it both funny and suspenseful (and acted well), but it's shot stylishly, too. There's great use of editing, camera, and a bit of funny slow-mo in the opening credits (which are great in and of themselves). It's currently rivaling Shaun, though I'm not sure if it'll surpass it; I'll have to see Zombieland a few more times to make sure. And I will, too. Definitely. But it is now one of my favorite movies. I strongly recommend it.

Royale With Cheese

(P.S. There's a scene after the credits that's kind of an outtake between Harrelson and the aforementioned cameo star... so don't leave too soon!)


  1. Crap! I missed the post-credits add. I need to go watch the film again to see it.

  2. I don't want to read this given your rave...I'll see it. Maybe I can drag a buddy along to see it...or maybe I'll just *gasp!* go alone. Haven't done that in awhile.

  3. I waited about 4 minutes into the credits, saw nothing, and left. I had recalled reading something about there being a scene, but wasn't sure that it was for this movie or another, and I wasn't about to stay all the way to the very end and get nothing. We even asked the theater worker waiting to come in and clean up if there was anything at the end, and he said "no" and now we missed it (or it somehow wasn't there). I.R. Pissed.

  4. I'd be pissed too if the theater worker said there wasn't one and I found out there was. Lame.


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