Only one of two things can result from a film laying claim to being directly influenced by Brit-hit Shaun of the Dead; it can either be good or it can be very very bad. Thankfully Ruben Fleischer‘s Zombieland is definitely the former and, knowing that one of the lead character’s central concern, amidst the carnage created by the a newly carnivorous population, is finding his beloved Twinkies, you know it is a film that shares Edgar Wright‘s Shaun‘s fun-loving approach.
Columbus (Jessie Eisenberg) crash lands onto our screens at hurtling speed. Utilising the character Eisenberg has perfected (the dorky twenty something to the uninitiated), Fleischer provides the film with a central character who is not only likeable but, relatively rare in cinema, completely relatable. Gone is the heroic action lead, here replaced with the sensible, if a little sensitive, Columbus who talks us through surviving a post-apocalyptic U.S.. Zombies are rampant and survivors are scarce… and Columbus’s rules are life-savers.
The unlikely friendship that Columbus forms with Twinkie-loving Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) provides the film with most of its fun whilst sisters Witchita and Little Rock (Emma Stone and the delightful Abigail Breslin respectively) give the film its gutsy female edge. Much of the talk surrounding Zombieland centres around its brilliant cameo and, although we don’t want to ruin the surprise, the legend’s appearance is both surprising and perhaps the best part of the film.
Penned by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (both currently working on the Deadpool script) the film seems to echo Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim (that would be released a year later). Embracing the cool graphics employed in Pilgrim as well as some smart use of directing, Zombieland portrays one man’s captivating monologue about survival. The humour throughout is effortless, ranging from Columbus’s pre-plague desires to have a girlfriend (quashed by her attempts to actually eat him), the characters endulging in a game of monopoly amidst the mayhem whilst the subtle facebook jibes are made all the more funnier after Eisenberg’s appearance in The Social Network.
The characters are refreshing and steer away from the stereotypes relied on by similar comedies. Tallahassee refrains from nestling into the misogynistic niche cut out by similar characters that have appeared before him whilst Columbus’s nerdiness doesn’t irritate, making watching the band of survivors try and tackle the world around them great fun. Enjoyable and quirky throughout, Zombieland is a must for horror and comedy fans alike.
Best bit: The cameo.
Best line: ‘Where’s the fucking Twinkies?’
Best performance: Woody Harrelson.
Best song: The soundtrack itself is nigh-on flawless.
Watch this if you liked: Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
The puppy belonged to Breslin… whilst Harrelson, a strict vegetarian, couldn’t eat real Twinkies.