By Traviss Witt
We all have a plan for what to do when the day inevitably comes: when the dead rise from their graves to roam the earth and devour the living. You’re going to need weapons, food and the company of as many non-zombies as you can possibly find. Zombieland is the hilarious, horrifying and frighteningly realistic story of Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), one survivor looking for meaning in a world that makes no sense.
Who would have suspected that a lonely, neurotic first-person shooter enthusiast would be one of the last people standing when the zombie apocalypse finally happens? Thanks to his phobias, lack of social integration, and overwhelming paranoia, Columbus has survived the recent onslaught by the undead. After pummeling the brains out of everyone he once knew and loved, he’s got little hope of staying put, so Columbus abandons his home and sets off to find what little family he has left.
Along the road he comes across Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) – actually, Tallahassee comes across Columbus as he’s speeding down the highway in his armored Escalade, complete with zombie rams on the front and back.
Tallahassee’s armed with enough weapons and ammunition to supply a small army: AK-47s, uzis, shotguns, baseball bats, hedge clippers and literally anything else that could come in handy in Zombieland. Tallahassee is in the zombie killing business, and as he puts it in the movie, “business is good.”
More terrifying than Tallahassee’s relentless search for a Twinkie is how real the zombies look. A seasoned veteran of the zombie game, Tony Gardner, who’s most famous for his work on Micheal Jackson’s “Thriller” video, completed the make-up artistry. He is also the artist responsible for turning the gorgeous Gwyneth Paltrow into an over weight girl in 2001’s Shallow Hal.
Zombieland also has an impressive soundtrack with songs by The Black Keys, The Racontuers, The Velvet Underground, Band of Horses and Willie Nelson, just to name a few.
This is definitely not a film for those with a weak stomach. It’s packed full of blood, gore and graphic zombie decapitations. During the introduction, viewers are treated to a tidal wave of gruesome scenes, just to get everyone in the mood. Cinematographer Michael Bonvillain (Cloverfield, Lost) has a knack for showing all the horrific visuals that don’t get screen time in most other films.
One of the high points of the movie is a highly unexpected cameo. As the crew is searching for a zombie-free location to set up camp, they come across the lavish house of a very famous person with the initials “BM.”
Tallahassee explains to the crew that this man is at the very top of Hollywood’s A-list, “And it ain’t Bob Marley.” Not to spoil the surprise, let’s just say this individual was almost the “Kingpin.”
Coming from a director with next to nothing on his resume, Ruben Fleischer and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have proven that they have the capability to create a great movie.
Zombieland isn’t a classic zombie movie in the traditional sense. Instead, it’s packed with comedy, drama, action and an infinite list of inventive ways to kill zombies. It seamlessly balances all of these aspects, creating one heck of an entertaining movie.
For fans of the genre, Zombieland offers a new and refreshing take on the living dead.