Welcome to Zombieland, a zombie film for the zeitgeist where horror's most beloved monstrosities are used as action/comedy target practice.
Our guide is Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), a neurotic college student who has managed to survive a world overrun by zombies, by following a stringent set of rules.
On his way back to his hometown, Columbus partners up with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a no BS, Twinkie loving, zombie slayer.
The fearsome duo becomes a family after they hook up with sisters Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin).
The family kill zombies.
Plot is not a driving force in this film. Nor will you find George Romero-esque themes of social or political relevance. And that is exactly the point. Zombieland is here to do two things: gross you out and make you laugh (those who said chew gum and kick ass, hang your heads in shame).
Despite the grotesque nature of its violence (which is played for laughs rather than scares), and the obvious love for its undead villains, Zombieland is less a zombie film and more a buddy comedy played out to a horror backdrop.
And while there is fun to be had in the clash of Eisenberg’s dry humour and Harrelson’s macho swagger, it is not enough to shake the feeling that what we have here is a film catered to fill the need of the sex and violence obsessed Generation Y-outube.
Director Ruben Fleischer (in his debut) seems to be a filmmaker heavily influenced by the Seth Family Guy McFarlane school of entertainment.
Unlike other equally acclaimed first time horror directors who brought innovation to the genre (Romero, Craven Hopper), Flesicher has made a film for the here and now, and what is more hip than brand McFarlane and his style of un-PC humour, liberal politics, brief energetic flashbacks, and 1980s pop nostalgia (exampled here in a hats off cameo by none other than Bill Murray, the films highlight).
Fleischer’s film is less about creativity and substance, and more about tapping into the current pop culture in order to entertaining his audience. His recent admission that a sequel will be shot in the now trendy 3D format only proves that.
For that reason alone, Zombieland is nowhere near the classic it has been labelled, and is more a film that will be encrusted in this time and place. Give it a few years, and it will seem as relevant as the latest game console.