Run-time: 1 hour, 28 minutes
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone & Abigail Breslin
Have you ever seen a trailer for a movie and thought that, as ridiculous as the scenario may seem, there could be a fantastic film hidden underneath? That was my exact thought process when I first started seeing the trailers for Zombieland in early 2009. It had been a while since the world had received a legitimate horror-comedy - I think you'd have to go back to 2004's Shaun of the Dead for the best example - but the blend of a post-apocalyptic world overtaken by zombies matched with the biting hilarity that actors like Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson can bring to the screen almost seemed too good to pass up.
Fortunately, Zombieland completely delivers and fires on all cylinders from the very get-go. It's an interesting take on the zombie genre, and it starts with the quirkiness of our central lead, Columbus (Eisenberg). As a result of his social peculiarities, he's developed a set of rules that guide him towards survival in Zombieland. Throughout the course of the film, we're given snippets of the most important rules, and they all work to fantastic comedic effect. Because Eisenberg is so socially awkward, and has seemingly carved a niche in that particular type-cast by now, his character is extremely effective. Stone and Breslin are very good in their supporting roles, and I need not look past this movie to remember why I'm so in love with Emma Stone. But the real acting cake has to go to Woody Harrelson. He's offered some memorable characters in the past, but there's something so uniquely inviting about his character Tallahassee that brings an immediate freshness to this one. Oh, and there is a bit of a big-name cameo, but the word of it was leaked early in the filming stages, so I knew about it going into the film for the first time two years ago. I won't tell you who it is, but it's one of the funnier cameos I've seen in the past few years. Zombieland is almost worth a watch simply because of that.
Still, a lot has to be said about the film's screenplay: it's so inventive and imaginative that it makes you forget just how absurd some of it actually is. I mean, Tallahassee spends nearly the entire movie searching for a Twinkie, and the climactic action sequences take place inside an amusement park. But as I previously mentioned, there's a freshness to this movie that makes it instantly appealing and accessible to today's generation. It's a no-holds-barred laugh-and-gore-fest, and it never once lets its foot off the pedal. Once we get going, we're barreling down the highway along with our four main characters, and we're just expected to go along for the ride.
Is this one of the best movies you'll ever seen? I doubt it, but it definitely ranks near the top in terms of horror-comedies. I'd say you should definitely give it a go if you haven't already because I'm sure you'll be roaring with laughter just as quickly as I was.
Best All-Time: #203
2009: 5 nominations
Previous DVD Challenge: INDEPENDENCE DAY (1996)