Written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick
Directed by Rueben Flieischer
A shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, and a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the Last Twinkie and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America.
Zombieland is nothing if not charming. Adding new one-liners and tactically impossible situations, Zombieland scattershops itself into the finest zombie flick in recent years. We might even have to go back to Shaun of the Dead to find another film so well-written and nicely executed. Bursting with colorful and likeable characters, we’re delivered a great foursome of protagonists for our cross-country drive across the zombie-infected apocalypse.
We have the socially anxious, Columbus (Jessie Eisenberg), and the standard-issue Han Solo/rogue archetype, Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), who meet on the abandoned roads of the heartland, each traveling east for home. Drawn guns and twitchy trigger fingers quickly give way to a funny banter between the two already jaded and intelligently prepared travelers. Tallahassee is obviously a bit of a bad ass, and makes fun of Columbus until he finds some of his own bad ass groove. Great pairing.
We also have rules in this bloodfest. Like this one.
On the shady side of the zombie meltdown we have two sisters, Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who meet our two heroes after pulling not one, but two smart scams that cost the guys their vehicles and firepower. Instead of home, the sisters want to go to an amusement park since it’s zombie-free and abandoned. Of course they all gain the collective trust of the group and deeper relationships are formed. There are several interpersonal scenes in ZL that were so nicely written, acted, and directed that it made this nightmarish setting forgettable if for only a short time. One of those moments are when the gang stumbles into a mansion for shelter. Luckiest break ever, it’s Bill Murray’s mansion.
In standard Bill Murray fashion, he’s the weirdo (but smart-o) dressed in tattered clothing with a face full of zombie makeup in attempts to blend in. He states being out and active is nice fo his lifestyle. Romance blooms between Wichita and Columbus at the mansion and we see what would only be described as ecstatic in this real scenario; two people receiving the gift of human contact. Nowhere nearly as lucky as Columbus, Bill decides it will be funny to scare Columbus and Little Rock who are digging Ghostbusters in his massive home theater. Surprised and scared, Columbus blasts him in the chest. Hilarious to the end, Bill drags out his final breathes before embracing the mercy of death. Such a fantastic scene. Sit through the credits for more Zombie Murray.
Of course this being a zombie movie, the best place to have an epic, full-on, both barrels raging, showdown is at the brightly lit, zombie attracting amusement park. Some of the most creative kills are in the climatic endgame. Swinging from Tilt-A-Whirls with shotguns blazing, our heroes deliver some serious ass kicking. It’s such a feel-good killing frenzy.
So, in the end, our characters are richer for their experience, they all grew as people and survivors. All in all, you don’t see entire zombie movie casts making it until the end. Zombieland is so perfectly narrated by Eeisenberg, carrying the story and all the little introspective soul-searching moments into a much broader tale than if done any other way. This is a zombie fan must-see. If you’re just hearing about this right now, I just wouldn’t mention that shit.