Zombieland (2009)
Directed by Ruben Fleischer

Starring Abigail Breslin Emma Stone Jesse Eisenberg Woody Harrelson

"Zombieland" is many things, but it's not a horror movie. A sci-fi, road movie, comedy, apocalyptic, buddy movie, it's so mild that even your 8-year-old little sister could watch it.

Opening up with some beautifully shot slow-mo depictions of zombie attacks, the film's goriest and most horror filled moments take place in its opening act as the film's neurotic narrator/protagonist talks about his life and what happened to him when the U.S. fell prey to a zombie illness and became the "United States of Zombieland."

Actually calling the cannibalistic creatures that have taken over the world in his film "zombies" is a bit of a misnomer, because they aren't dead. In this film, the world has been taken over by a "28 Days Later"-style virus that turns people into zombie-like cannibals. These zombies aren't the living dead -- a bit disappointing in a zombie film. But they certainly look and act like the running dead people we saw in the "Dawn of the Dead" remake a few years back.

"Adventureland" alum Jesse Eisenberg plays nice guy college kid Columbus, who is a lone survivor of the apocalypse and who has been penning "rules" for survival in a notebook: Rules such as "wear a seatbelt," because car crashes are frequent during the zombie apocalypse. A loner who reflects on his lack of success with girls via his on-screen narration -- before the apocalypse began he nearly got romantic with a dorm neighbor (Amber Heard of "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane") before she "turned" -- he's grappling a bit with loneliness, when he comes across another survivor: Tallahassee(corrected) (played by Woody Harrelson), a redneck zombie killer obsessed with finding a Twinkie.

During their travels, the two men encounter another pair of survivors, both female, and the story evolves from there. It actually would be a crime to reveal too much else about the story without revealing spoilers. Needless to say the movie is more or less a buddy film about learning to trust other people.

As I mentioned earlier, this is not a horror film. The only time the film comes close to resembling a fear film may be the Amber Heard scene and the recap of the zombie apocalypse at the beginning. As comedies go, it's as light as a feather and politically correct to the core. This film does not even pay tribute to the outrageous, tasteless sick zombie films of the '70s and '80s. Instead it's more of America's answer to "Shaun of the Dead" -- but even lighter. The film's pace slows down quite a bit when the crew arrive in Hollywood -- and meet up with a celebrity in one of the best cameos ever. About two thirds through the movie, it literally stops even being a zombie movie and just wallows in comedy/drama. But it picks up at the end for a massacre in an amusement park.

All in all, "Zombieland" is a fun, light, mainstream comedy -- and perhaps evidence that zombies have become a bit too ubiquitous. There was a time when "zombie" films were edgy and alternative. That time has clearly passed.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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