Ah, monster movies. Isn’t that what October just begs for? Especially the really goofy ones that make viewers laugh at how cheesy they are. If that is what a moviegoer is craving, then “Zombieland” is the fix. In yet another end of the world scenario, “Zombieland” will be sure to make audiences laugh at those bumbling brain-craving creatures.
“Zombieland” is narrated by a young man who goes by the name of Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg, “Adventureland”). That’s his real name, but in a world where one can’t get too close to anyone in case he or she has to be killed after being zombified, names are not allowed. Columbus, named after the town he’s from, has a set of rules that have enabled him to survive the zombiepocalypse that has taken over the world. He introduces the movie telling the audience these rules, and a set of great graphics will emphasize them repeatedly for comedic effect.
Columbus is a by-the-book kind of guy who is used to being on his own. When he meets Tallahasse (Woody Harrelson, “Seven Pounds”), who delights in killing zombies in as many creative ways as possible and refuses to follow any rules, he is reluctant to join forces with him. The two grate on each other’s nerves, but in the end they grudgingly remain together.
The film essentially turns into a buddy road trip movie as these two lone survivors stumble upon a couple of female con artists who will eventually join their caravan: the sexy Wichita (Emma Stone, “Superbad”), and her younger sister Little Rock (Abigail Breslin, “My Sister’s Keeper”).
While this might not seem like a plot ripe for comedic moments, the movie has plenty of laughs and delightful surprises in store for viewers. Not least of which is a fabulous cameo by Bill Murray, who thankfully returns to his comedic roots for this enterprise.
The four main actors are really the only people seen on screen, aside from Murray and the numerous zombies sprinkled throughout the film. But they are able to carry the entire plot by themselves, and keep audiences entertained. There is some pathos, but every serious moment is short-lived. Drama is not allowed in a film that exists as an excuse to wind up in the best setting ever created for killing zombies: an amusement-theme park complete with a haunted house.
While viewers might be disappointed to find very little visual gore in this R-rated flick (especially after the incredibly bloody introduction), there is more than enough violence and a few choice words to earn it that rating. Even if the gore was primarily comedic, it might bother some viewers, as the special effects are not spared. The make-up artists must have been pretty busy too, with the hundreds of extras who played zombies only to become mutilated corpses.
Viewers should be forewarned that this is no “Shaun of the Dead,” where the gore is kept primarily to one scene. However, the tone of dark humor is pretty much the same. If that’s what one is looking for, then this is definitely the movie to see this fall.