Zombieland is hardly a zombie movie. Sure, there are throngs of the undead (a zombie-making virus struck down the entire planet — take that, H1N1!) who are happy to disembowel people for fun and snacking; but they don’t appear for large chunks of the movie. This is more of a post-apocalyptic, survival, road movie mash-up. Instead of being an American Shaun of the Dead, it’s more like a humourous I Am Legend. Being someone who doesn’t really like zombie movies (C’mon, entrails for lunch? Aren’t we better than that?), this is good news.
Jesse Eisenberg plays a wimpy, underdog hero who lives through the zombie apocalypse largely due to his set of survival rules (which are written on screen and explained repeatedly to the audience in clever voiceover). Eisenberg’s character Columbus (mistrust leads everyone to name themselves after US cities) meets up with Woody Harrelson’s Tallahassee, a Twinkie-obsessed zombie-hunter, as well as two teenage girls who join forces to make their way to a mythical zombie-free zone at a west-coast amusement park. If you’ve seen other road movies you can pretty much predict the ensuing ups and downs as a rag tag gang become a de facto family. I guess it’s really the humour, laced with pop cultural references and sarcasm, that puts Zombieland above your average B-movie fare, plus the actors all do a pretty convincing job expressing the movie’s central post-apocalyptic nonchalance. There’s even a wonderful cameo that is a great little mid-movie high-point. For my money, I still think Shaun of the Dead had more laughs per minute, but I would take Zombieland over I Am Legend any day (sorry, Will). 4 out of 5