Cinemaster Score: 9/10
For decades – since George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead in 1968 to this day – zombie flicks have been a big part of mainstream media. Yet, most of them take a gloomier look into the apocalypse. Then, of course, there are some exceptions. One of these such exceptions is Zombieland. Zombieland is unique in so many ways. There are only a few characters played by some big name actors such as Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson. There’s a positive vibe that mostly ignores the dreary situation to tug at heart strings more when things do get sad. Eisenberg’s character (Columbus) has rules of survival for audiences to study, too. Zombieland as a whole is an anomaly due to the lack of experience in direction from Ruben Fleischer. Though that matters none as Zombieland is a fun ride that can be watched many times and still be loved.
Acting; Zombieland is full of some of the best characters in the genre – as mentioned earlier. That’s because of how wonderfully acted they are. Our cast includes Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, and a special appearance by Bill Murray. Each actor brings a unique energy to their character, making them lively and full of charm. Each are equally memorable and distinct thanks to the quirks and personalities given by these actors. They are perfectly cast – especially Eisenberg, who crafts a character that is sheltered and yet, still highly capable. The chemistry he has with Harrelson drives the majority of the film and it creates some hilarious moments as well as some tragic. Zombieland has such good characters thanks to a great assortment of actors that are excellent complements to each other.
Script; Looking at most zombie flicks in recent memory, the writing tends to have a similar concern. That concern? Exposition. Past zombie movies have overlooked positivity or fun stories in the genre, generally making there films darker. They take a lot of time to explain the apocalypse – both in cause and possible solutions. However, Zombieland is written as to have an almost genial atmosphere. Jokes are made and laughs are had often. The script has a brief explanation of the virus’ cause and moves on immediately to focus on a better story. Then you have Columbus’ rules of survival sprinkled in as a little extra entertainment throughout. By and large, Zombieland has a unique script that makes the movie all the better.
Characters; The characters in Zombieland are some of the most entertaining in comparison to any other zombie-central films. Start with a look at our main protagonist, Columbus. Columbus (played in exemplary manner by Jesse Eisenberg) is an everyday guy – socially inept and only little more than average in most categories. However, he does have the wits to stand out and it makes his dynamics with other characters all the better. Then you have Tallahassee, the complementary opposite to Columbus. Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) is an impulsive, wild, and adventurous persona that is a wild ride to watch. With them are Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), a fierce and devious pair that join in. The small group of characters doesn’t take away from the film because of their lacking numbers at all and together they make Zombieland great.
Direction; Ruben Fleischer is a relatively new director, having only a couple major films under his belt. Zombieland was his first feature film. Having said that it’s difficult to see any signs of amateur filmmaking here whatsoever. He constructs an excellent comedic tone within the zombie horror film that creates memorable and engaging characters. Fleischer simultaneously balances moments of tension and moments of humor in one unforgettable adventure. He gives arguably the best zombie comedy ever made, filming it with style and a respect for the genre. Fleischer does all of this in his feature film, giving us great anticipation for what he delivers next.
Story; Zombieland has a story better than most in the subgenre. Unlike many zombie flicks, this story doesn’t focus on finding the cause or the cure of the apocalypse. It doesn’t depict the beginnings if it, nor the rebuilding of new society. Instead, Zombieland focuses on a small group of people just trying to casually survive and get to different places. In that essence, Zombieland feels reminiscent of the admirable classic, Dawn of the Dead (1978). At first each character is a supposed loner, but this story tells one of human connection and making it through struggles together. The situation is desolate and the characters are on a mission to feel like the world left behind isn’t so far away. It’s an entertaining, unique, and emotional story that ties Zombieland together nicely.
Enjoyment; It’s difficult to think that anyone who watches Zombieland won’t be at least entertained. From the excellent pacing of the original story to the unparalleled chemistry displayed between characters – Zombieland has it all. Not a single scene is boring and even the slow moments are orchestrated so well that you can’t help but stay engaged throughout. Hardcore fans of the horror genre and even anyone looking for a unique comedic approach to the tired zombie film formula, Zombieland gives it all. Even those who hate the genre may find something to enjoy in the comedic scenes, or perhaps even in the dramatic ones. There are no shortage of either and the way they are balanced is done perfectly so. It is highly rewatchable, and just as perfect each time you watch it.
David: “Zombieland is in the top of my zombie flick genre which is one I’ve always loved. It is an amazing movie in every aspect of the word and redefined the genre as a whole. I find myself willing to watch this movie time and time again due to its short runtime and very high enjoyment factor.”
JP: “Zombieland is one of my favorite comedies out there. Not only because of the great actors who make every scene a blast, but because of the unique style it has compared to other films in the genre. I find something new to love about it every time I watch it, and highly recommend it to you.”