So I’m finally back with an actual post. As promised, I’m giving you 2009’s Zombieland. Watching it made me realize that I don’t have a lot of experience with the horror-comedy genre. I’ve seen and enjoyed The Lost Boys and Shaun of the Dead and…that’s about all I can think of right now. My point is that I’m less of an expert at this genre than I am about, say, Romero zombies.
The plot; a variant of mad-cow disease has left most of the population flesh-crazed zombies. They’re fast and very similar to the rage zombies from 28 Days Later. Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is trying to get back to his family in Columbus, Ohio. He meets up with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) and a pair of con-artist sisters, Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). When Columbus hears that Columbus has been destroyed he decides to join the sisters on a quest to Pacific Playland amusement park, a place reported to be zombie free.
The movie manages a fine-line between horror and humor. Columbus has a set of rules that he follows that he thinks has allowed him to survive. These rules pop-up on the screen as they’re used in the movie. They include:
Fat people were caught and eaten first.
When you think a zombie’s dead give it an extra shot in the head just to make sure.
Zombies seem to attack when you’re most vulnerable. And when are you really vulnerable? When you’re pooping.
I think this rule is good for not just the apocalypse.
Always check the backseat of any vehicle you get into.
Limber up if you get a chance before doing any possible zombie fighting.
You know, people in the movie kept calling Columbus gutless–and I guess he did scare easily–but these rules aren’t unreasonable and I’m sure I’d use something similar in order to survive the apocalypse. And you know you want me on your team, I’ve seen enough scary movies and read enough scary books to survive. I like to think that in the event of zombies, all of the horror-bloggers would survive and we’d all make our way to each other and build some kind of ultra-bunker.
Anyway, while the movie remains light-hearted there are some genuine scares. It also makes an interesting statement about the disconnect about people in modern society. No one knows each other’s real names in the movie, until the end when Wichita tells Columbus her name. Columbus, while trying to get back to his family, admits that he wasn’t very close with them as they’re all weird shut-ins and that he has dozens of neuroses and phobias. Tallahassee is obsessed with finding the last Twinkies on earth. I mean, really, really obsessed, and it makes you wonder why he’s so wild and what he’s compensating for.
Ultimately, I think it’s a hopeful kind of people because you have all these people that are alienated and lonely and they manage to find each other and make their own kind of family.
I think my favorite part of this movie, though, is how much fun it makes the apocalypse look. There’s one scene where they stop at an Indian casino and just destroy the gift shop in glorious slow-motion. It’s amazingly beautiful, especially since it’s set music from Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.” It becomes like a slow-motion ballet of destruction. Tell me you’ve never daydreamed about the apocalypse and doing that to some crappy store. I’d choose the Toys ‘R Us in Times Square.
Also, the movie has Bill Murray. And as Wichita says, it’s like he has a direct line to my funny-bone.
This movie made me think a lot about the benefits and drawbacks of the apocalypse. So I made a list about why the end of the world would rock and/or suck. As an added bonus I used the terrifying clown stationary that I got at a garage sale.
Click to make big!