Sunday, October 11, 2009

ZOMBIELAND (2009)




Written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick


Directed by Ruben Fleischer


Where & When: Emigine Cinemas, Canton, MI. October 5, 2009 4:30PM



I have to admit I would not have gone to see this film on my own. I am not a big fan of Woody Harrelson and even less of a fan of graphic horror films but I was back in Michigan visiting my mother and sister for the week. "Zombieland" was the movie they wanted to see. I try to be a team player so off we went.

When we were kids, my mother took us to the movies quite regularly. I think that is why I still believe that movies must be seen properly in a movie theater. I think seeing a film with an audience with a giant screen is part of the whole experience. Like myself, my mother goes to see almost everything. In a movie theater. In fact, she gets upset when certain films she wants to see (mostly independent) do not play in a theater near her. She also luvs movies but she doesn't want to have to travel too far to see them.

The story is being told by an unnamed, nerdy young college student in Texas who ultimately will be known by the nickname, "Columbus" (Jesse Eisenberg). He explains that most people in the world has been transformed into flesh eating zombies and he rattles off his list of rules to survive against being turned into one. Walking in route to Ohio to find his family, Columbus runs into another non-zombie driving an Escalade. He goes by the name, "Tallahassee" (Woody Harrelson) and he is an intense, no nonsense type of fella who is in desperate pursuit of the now rare, sweet treat: the Twinkie.

Tallahassee is on his way to Florida so he reluctantly agrees to let Columbus hitch a ride half way across the country so Columbus can get to Ohio. On the way, they stop at a grocery store where they meet two young girls, "Wichita" (Emma Stone) and "Little Rock" (Abigail Breslin). Little Rock claims to have been bitten by a zombie and wants one of the guys to shoot her and put her out of potential misery. Unfortunately for the guys, the girls have just tricked them so they can steal their car to get to Los Angeles. The guys are stranded but don't worry. . . they manage to find another truck that is fully loaded with a wide assortment of guns.

Tallahassee and Columbus are back on the freeway. Tallahassee is heading west to track down the girls. They soon find their Escalade abandoned at the side of the road and no sign of the girls. While investigating, the guys are ambushed again by the young ladies but this time the guys are able to get the upper hand. They are at a stand off. They decide to stop fighting each other and travel together. The girls want to get to LA because there is an amusement park there that is supposed to be zombie-free.

Once in Los Angeles, they use a star map to get to the house of a surprise guest star. I guess I won't spoil it and say who but I will give a clue: He was one of the original cast members of "Saturday Night Live" and later became a movie star. Later, after a few drinks, Columbus and Wichita find themselves attracted to each other and almost kiss but are interrupted.

The next morning, the girls take off for the amusement park. When they get there, it appears to be deserted, so they decide to turn on the rides and have some fun. The lights and the noise attract surrounding zombies and they head to the park. Columbus wants to go after the girls but Tallahassee wants to forget them and head to Mexico. Will Columbus be able to find the girls on his own and will he make it in time before they become a meal for ravenous zombies?

This film is a part of the current trend of horror-comedy fusions. "Zombieland" doesn't really work in either genre although it's slightly better as a comedy. There were a few funny moments in the film but the whole part with the surprise guest star was awful. It seemed to go on and on and I was actually embarrassed for the actor. He doesn't work too often these days, so either he lost a bet or he was very hard up for the cash. I also didn't find too much humor in splattering blood and gore. I thought the film was dumb and mindless but I have to admit I was entertained and I wasn't bored.

The part of "Zombieland" I really liked was the opening credits, which was actually the perfect blend of humor, horror and visual effects and it set up an ideal tone for the film. Too bad it didn't continue up till the closing credits.