Director: Ruben Fleischer | 88 minutes | action, horror, comedy | Actors: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Amber Heard, Bill Murray, Derek Graf, Jacob G. Akins, Hunter Aldridge, Elle Alexander, Michael August, Melanie Booth, Daniel Burnley, Chris Burns, Dalton Cole, Blaise Corrigan, Ernest Dancy, Anthony J. Davis, Travis Grant, Robert Hatch, Barry Hopkins, Amir Khan, Amir Kovacs, Mike White
Zombies are weird creatures. Where vampires at least still show a decent display of intelligence, zombies usually walk aimlessly down the street like a set of gramophone records with a scratch in them. They look lifeless from their eyes, but they cannot be completely without life, because to put your feet in front of each other one by one you still need a certain brain capacity. Thinking too long about the (un) sense behind the existence of zombies, however, only produces headaches. That’s why you just have to take them for granted, and that’s exactly what ‘Zombieland’ does. No explanation. Zombies exist and that’s it!
With this, the film bypasses one of the biggest turn-offs in the genre: the set-up. The film begins in media res, with an America that has been plagued by contagious zombie disease for weeks. All the dumbos and fat people have long since fallen prey to the biting jaws of the undead – only the intelligent and careful people are left. One of them is Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), named after his place of birth. In Zombieland you don’t use a name to avoid getting too close to each other. At the time of the outbreak, Columbus spent days gaming at home like a real nerd, so the disaster initially passed him by. But after one surprising meeting, he immediately knew where he stood. And now, as a survival strategy, he has drawn up a set of rules that no zombie can overcome him.
The most important rules of Columbus are portrayed in a hilarious way. This gives non-connoisseurs of the genre a great stepping stone. Without explaining why exactly you have to shoot a zombie in the head, it becomes clear to the layman that it is an effective method to clean up a zombie. Anyone who enters the film with a lot of prior knowledge will therefore enjoy the explanation a lot of fun, while newcomers will mainly see a crash course in zombie control. In this way, the momentum remains comfortable and the focus can remain fully focused on the characters. Because no matter how well Columbus does on his own, he secretly longs for some help (and friendship). This is offered to him, among others, by the trigger-happy Tallahassee (an irresistible Woody Harrelson),
As different as the two men are, how effective is their collaboration. This keeps this unlikely duo together and you gradually see the quirky Tallahassee soften, without losing its wild hair. The friendship of the two is put to the test when a bunch of young women come into play: the con artist sisters Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). Time and again, the girls outsmart the men in their belief that the two of them can do it together. But in a world where humanity is hard to find, friendship ultimately proves to be more important than a cold survival strategy. It is great that a film about zombies can convey such a beautiful message so strongly.
The film is beautifully designed and packed with strong jokes. The link with ‘Shaun of the Dead’ (2004) is quickly made, but ‘Zombieland’ still has a different, completely unique character. The most brilliant scene is three-quarters of the film, when the foursome move into the villa in a largely deserted Beverly Hills villa, a major movie star with the initials BM. joins in as Woody Harrelson’s character begins to adore his great hero with devotion. Tribute to director Ruben Fleischer who not only shows courage with ‘Zombieland’, but also great craftsmanship. An absolute top film!
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