Zombieland (2009)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Zombieland</strong> (2009)

(In theatres, October 2009) By this point in the zombie-movie craze, some stories are redundant. The basic zombies-take-over-the-world narrative has been to death and back, and anyone seriously considering making a zombie film should find an original angle on the concept –we don’t actually need another dour and nihilistic 28 Months Later. Fortunately, Zombieland takes a not-so-blackly comedic approach to the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. From the opening sequence onward, there’s a playful tone, what with explicit survival rules, kills-of-the-week and on-screen title gags. The picture is anchored by great performances by Jesse Eisenberg as a paranoid nerd and Woody Harrelson as a redneck with a natural talent for killing zombies. It’s a shame that the female characters don’t come across as fully realized, but the pacing of the picture is often too quick to allow for reflection. It’s not quite as brilliant or subversive as Shaun of the Dead, but Zombieland does manage a pleasant, well-executed B-movie vibe. Director Ruben Fleischer uses special effects wisely, has a keen aesthetic sense of slow-motion, keeps things hopping and only occasionally lets the energy of the picture flag in too-long conversation sequences. (Even at a snappy 81 minutes, the film occasionally feels a bit long.) The ending misses full marks by a few inches (the tension is diffused too quickly), but that it gets there at all without letting down the rest of the picture is remarkable. Far funnier than it is gruesome or suspenseful, Zombieland has a good future ahead of itself as a late-evening fan-favourite. The less you know about the celebrity cameo, the better.

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