ZombielandWednesday 07 Oct 2009
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Bill Murray and Amber Heard.
Duration: 88 minutes
What odds would you have got at the start of the year that two of the biggest and most enjoyable films would turn out to be the ones that we'd heard nothing about? First 'The Hangover' brightened up the summer and now 'Zombieland' chows down on the funnybone with ravenous glee. And just like 'The Hangover', there's the temptation to go again.
When "mad cow becomes mad person becomes mad zombie", a student (Eisenberg) manages to stay one step ahead of the flesh eaters' carnage thanks to his brains, phobias and irritable bowel syndrome.
He's trying to get back to his parents in Columbus and en route meets a zombie-killing good ol' boy (Harrelson) who's heading to Tallahassee. Giving each other the nicknames of their respective destinations, Columbus and Tallahassee form the unlikeliest team on post-apocalyptic earth - a geek who's always in search of a decent bathroom and an alpha male who's on a quest to find an unopened Twinky. And their troubles double when sibling hustlers Wichita (Stone) and Little Rock (Breslin) hop in the Hummer with them.
The horror comedy genre hasn't seen much action since 'Shaun of the Dead', but after the US box office take of 'Zombieland' ($25m as of Sunday) we should expect plenty more gags and gore. Whether any successors can improve on the charms of this, however, is doubtful - oh, and it's way better than 'Shaun of the Dead'.
A man who can probably quote every line of George A Romero's 'Night of the Living Dead', 'Dawn of the Dead' and 'Day of the Dead' movies, director Fleischer gets just the right balance between dumb and smartass fun and also brings us one of the best cameos in years from Bill Murray as, well, Bill Murray. Check your pulse if you're not cheering.
The craving Harrelson's character has for Twinkies is matched by your wish that the actor would do more comedies. He's brilliant here - all southern drawl and quick draw - and the bickering between himself and Eisenberg's character (think a young Woody Allen with a shotgun) screams out "Sequel!".
It is far too short, and 'Little Miss Sunshine' star Abigail Breslin doesn't get enough to do, but those gripes aside, 'Zombieland' makes you feel very glad to be alive.