Welcome to Zombieland!
The world has been overrun by a virus that has left 99% of the human race less than desirable dinner guests. That’s right, it’s time for zombies. This zom-rom-com has been hailed by some as the American Shaun of the Dead and I’m here to say, with a happy grin, that this is a pretty accurate summation.
Where Shaun of the Dead was set firmly in good old Britain in a world as recognisable as your duvet set, Zombieland up’s the ante in typical American fashion doing everything that little bit bigger in a world that little bit more detached. With piano’s falling from the sky to handily give little old ladies “Zombie Kill of the Day” and genius cameos, Zombieland is a fresh and zesty take on the genre that is both stylish fun and most importantly, funny.
Ruben Fleischer’s debut is packed with little touches that bring it up and over the standard fare as he presents us a world full of zombies that aren’t actually the main draw in this charming piece. We follow our four main characters, Columbus (nervous, prepared and a little more than lost) Tallahassee (brash, fun, zombie killer extrordinaire) Wichita (young, beautiful and smart) and her little sister, Little Rock (innocent, smiling and just as sharp) as their stories travelling the now Zombie States of America intertwine.
Told through narrative and voice over from Columbus, it carefully weaves a tale with characters you genuinely come to care for and take to heart. Each one is well rounded and feels real (although the sisters are left mildly behind as we focus on Columbus & Tallahassee’s backgrounds) with no zombie fodder in the group at all. The writers have done well assuring that no character is left behind and that despite it’s overall light hearted tone, that the characters are fleshed out as much as their zombie counterparts are shot, struck, smashed, splattered and stripped down.
The comedy is a mix of surreal fantasy (cue Loony Toon’s piano), real life observation (bonding arguments about Hanna Montana and Little Rock’s lack of music history knowledge) and celebrity satire (for those aware of the cameo, get in!) which works well throughout as you move from chuckles, to belly laughs, to identifiable smiles. Zombieland might not be laugh out loud funny entirely, but manages something most comedies fail, managing to be consistently funny from beginning to end.
I thoroughly recommend going to see Zombieland as it is arguably 2009’s most enjoyable film so far. It pack enough punch to hit home on on the heart when it wants to, but is unashamedly fun in it’s own little world of far out scenarios. A real gem that knows not to take itself too seriously, has all it’s actors on punch line form and the best cameo in a film for a long, long time. The zombie kills are continuously inventive and the way the film is delivered through Columbus’ voice over and rule by rule survival guide is wonderfully presented alongside the traditional story of a few lost people coming together to find a common direction. Through zombie killing.