I keep surprising myself. First, I loved The Hangover, a straight-up guy-as-you-can-get comedy that brings new meaning to the term immature. Then I actually paid money to see a movie called Hot Tub Time Machine and laughed my head off. And now, looking for something enjoyable to share on a Saturday night with friends, I convinced my partner to grab Zombieland from the Red Box. Yes, Zombieland.
And guess what? Zombieland kicks ass.
What is Zombieland? Well, it is a zombie movie. It’s a cheesy B-movie filled with zombies roaming the earth eating people. It’s gross, scary and so over-the-top that you bust out laughing when you’re not jumping straight out of your seat. And it’s FANTASTIC. Normally, I totally don’t go for zombie movies—in fact, I’ve never seen a single zombie movie in my life. The closest I’ve ever come to a zombie movie is Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. But this—this is awesome. Why? Because it’s hilariously disgusting and scary. That’s right. Disgusting and scary. And hilarious.
From the very first scene, Zombieland mixes humor with horror and sticks with it. Neither lets up and you are hooked. The gimmicks, the tongue-in-cheek-ness of it all, the total shamelessness—it is all just massively entertaining.
But mostly, the screenplay is simple and easy, there is no great attempt to be bold, super-original or groundbreaking. Because of this, the rest of the film is allowed to breathe and grow and take center stage—the effects, the performances, the absurdity.
That’s not to say there’s nothing clever in Zombieland. Quite the opposite. Zombieland is all clever, all wit, all psychotic fun. Of course, if you’re into that kind of thing.
And that’s the thing with this movie. It sets the tone in the very first scene and if you don’t buy in and get on board early, you won’t enjoy the ride. But you’ll get on board.
Taking us on this wild ride are two most appealing actors, Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson, who elevate Zombieland from a B-movie to a must-see blockbuster. Eisenberg, who seems to have stolen Michael Cera’s career right from under his nose, plays a quiet and insecure college kid who makes Woody Allen look like an ego-maniac. His eccentricities and particular set of rules have kept him alive in this world ravaged by a flesh-eating virus that turns people into zombies. Eisenberg is perfect casting here as the foil to Harrelson’s brash and boisterous zombie-killing machine, whose blood-thirst for finding zombies to kill is only surpassed by his search for the last Twinkie left on earth.
Together, Eisenberg and Harrelson make a screen pair reminiscent of some classic odd couples, but, again, no over-emphasis is placed on characterization or story development, which is nice. It’s all about the next scene. And, without fail, somehow, there will be something entertaining in the next scene. And, in the end, isn’t that all we want from a movie?
Zombieland is pure brain candy. It has no nutritional value, but, hell, it sure is fun while it lasts.