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Overall Rating
3.45

Awesome: 21.84%
Worth A Look41.38%
Just Average: 8.05%
Pretty Crappy: 17.24%
Sucks: 11.49%

5 reviews, 57 user ratings



Zombieland
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by brianorndorf

"Slick, growly, and funny"
4 stars

Bloody, quippy, high tech, and pop culture savvy, “Zombieland” is a pre-packaged cult sensation. It’s a dizzying geek event righteously lubed up for heated message board debate, ironic t-shirts, and bountiful midnight screenings. Thankfully, the movie has ample cockeyed spirit to back up the exclusionary reaction it will undoubtedly generate. It’s a brief, barreling, jaw-cracking action picture, good for a few sizable laughs and some prime examples of splattery zombie-killing business. It’s a horror-comedy done proper, taking a far more endearing, freewheeling stance when it comes to busting open the undead, revealing there’s still some life left in the densely populated zombie genre.

The world has been wiped out, with zombies scattered around the globe on the hunt for human flesh. Only a few survivors remain, and one of them, Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), has his own set of rules to help him survive the daily harassment. Meeting up with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a fearless zombie killer of the redneck kind, the two hunters head eastward, desperate to return to whatever is left of their homes. Hindering their progress are Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), two grifters on their way to visit a beloved theme park in California. At first combative and distrustful, the gang begins to bond, only to find the friendship put to the test when the zombie nation rises up for another round of attacks.

It’s pretty much known throughout the geek world that Edgar Wright’s 2004, Romero-approved picture, “Shaun of the Dead,” was the ultimate word on the strange marriage of zombies and splatter comedy. I don’t think the crown is in danger of being stolen here, but “Zombieland” offers its own successful take on the same raw materials, only here director Ruben Fleischer comes well armed with a crisper, more CG-manipulated take on matters of the living dead, boosted by a sociable tone of laughs and shocks that will easily charm the gorehound crowd, but might win over a few naysayers as well.

Opening with a brief recap of zombie events and an overview of Columbus’s rules for survival (Rule #1: Cardio), “Zombieland” kicks into a combative title sequence where the living dead literally burst through the credits, scored ingeniously to Metallica’s bruiser, “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” It’s made clear in the opening five minutes that Fleischer is reaching for something more visceral than witty, and he’s got the visual tools and budget to drag the material into some fierce areas of engagement. His weapon of choice is slow-motion, and it’s used superbly to monitor the zombie horror in painstaking detail, as the innocent run for their lives, only to be overcome by flesh eaters who are faster and more determined. “Zombieland” is at least 50% screen detail, offering a frightfully zany zombie apocalypse where every death is decelerated to help relish the pure strains of irony and terror.

Thing do grow very silly very quickly, especially in the second act where the team hits the deserted streets of Beverly Hills to hide out in their pick of abandoned celebrity homes. The playful star cameo included here I cannot reveal, but the sequence represents the best and worst of “Zombieland,” taking a considerable amount of time away from the undead to make wink-wink jokes that come off as indulgent. Hilarious, for sure, but the attention is directed away from what counts. It’s not a deal breaker, only a lull in the action to give Fleischer a breather to develop his goofy characters -- a transparent move too late in the movie to matter.

Still, the material is wonderfully interpreted by the cast, with Harrelson having a ball shooting off machine guns, painting Earnhardt numbers on every found automobile, and beating down zombies with a crude range of weapons. Tallahassee’s also on the hunt for a Twinkie to soothe his soul, fueling his interstate rage as he finds only Snowballs left behind by cruel Hostess drivers. “Zombieland” also gives something constructive for Eisenberg to do. While still a fantastically one-note actor, Eisenberg puts his neurotic shtick to good use here, narrating the rules and regulations of a world gone mad. Stone and Breslin provide solid backup, but wield shotguns with a threadbare badass panache similar to Don Knotts.

The finale of “Zombieland” takes the action to a theme park setting, and Fleischer isn’t afraid to abuse the neon-lit carnival iconography to backdrop the mounting, snarling body count. It’s a terrific closer on an unexpectedly inspired film. Perhaps losing the box office clout to all things vampire these days, zombies retain a distinctive screen presence, and “Zombieland” knows just how to treat the plague: roughly and uproariously.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=18370&reviewer=404
originally posted: 10/02/09 10:21:35
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: Fantastic Fest 2009 For more in the Fantastic Fest 2009 series, click here.

User Comments

9/24/13 David Hollingsworth A fresh and fun take on the zombie film. 5 stars
5/29/11 RLan Who would have thought it! A fun movie about zombies. 4 stars
2/18/11 art IT MAKES you SICK!!!!,or cause you to, choke on your POPCORN! 1 stars
1/01/11 Jessica Canavan I'm a geek and proud of it, but this film was just horrid; gross and not funny. 2 stars
11/28/10 mr.mike Grinds to a halt once they arrive at BM's, 3 stars
10/08/10 robzomby shaun of the dead it ain't. poor choices for the female leads 2 stars
9/20/10 art NOT BAD,but all ROMERO zombies flick's from NOTD to LOTD STINK!!!! 3 stars
8/10/10 Chad Dillon Cooper Limp Shaun of the dead zomcom. 2 stars
3/29/10 aperson A very funny film. You Sir are a troll. 5 stars
3/14/10 Mathew poop, really disappointed 1 stars
3/13/10 chris Holy crap, that was a boring movie. Just some kids babbling in a car. 1 stars
3/13/10 johnny The people that made this are rich, and your an internet film critic, need i say more? 1 stars
3/10/10 Richard Brandt I liked the tone shift when after the surprise cameo came an even more stunning revelation. 4 stars
3/02/10 Stanley Thai A very funny film with a sincere and humane side to it. 4 stars
2/25/10 Brian Expected low review from someone who gave the Twilight movies a better grade than Iron Man. 4 stars
2/06/10 art NOT BAD,but white ZOMBIE and ZomBIE,take the CAKE! 3 stars
1/13/10 Mike It's been years since I turned off a movie part-way through. Utter crap. 1 stars
12/28/09 art IF YOU HAVE A WEIRD SENSE OF HUMOR,this is your MOVIE! 3 stars
12/25/09 Chad Dillon Cooper Hollywood Hostess twinkie comedy. No wonder it was a big hit. 1 stars
12/15/09 geo Absolutely awful. Nothing remotely funny in it. 1 stars
12/11/09 anon Holy shit i'm sick of film critics over analysing every movie they come across. Funny movie 5 stars
12/11/09 Willie Stroker Your mums fundamentally lazy and witless you retard this is a 5 star movie 5 stars
12/09/09 David A. This intentionally corny-to-excess film takes spoofing to a whole new level. 3 stars
12/04/09 Sarah Hilarious film, I enjoyed it. This review does the movie absolutely no justice. It's great! 4 stars
12/02/09 Wilson Parasiuk Review is on. Why does this movie fair well with audiences? 1 stars
11/29/09 Kyaa FUNNY MOVIE! (if you have 15yo or less, otherwise its a borring shiet) 3 stars
11/28/09 Scuba Steve Funny movie. Similiar to"Zombie Survival Guide" 5 stars
11/28/09 Aaron Commareri Great Bloody Fun! 5 stars
11/22/09 green meanie some people don't understand things they can't pigeonhole.. like this critic 4 stars
11/18/09 jon Wow. Somebody really doesnt like nerds. Thanks for insulting WoW gamers everyware. jerk. 5 stars
11/09/09 Bill Ripkin I'm appreciating how everyone giving this movie positive feedback sounds like a 12 year old 1 stars
11/09/09 Jonathan Borthwick Other than the "celebrity" bash, your review was very accurate. Movie was pointless. 1 stars
11/06/09 LH Disappointing in that none of the key characters were eaten 2 stars
11/06/09 shane how are you a film critic? you have no clue lol 4 stars
11/03/09 Dave You're looking for social and political commentary? You REALLY missed the point... 5 stars
11/02/09 KingNeutron I liked it - good casting + performances -- definitely hoping for a sequel! 4 stars
10/28/09 Dudebro This movie was better then Shawn! Shawn had to much bland comedy. 5 stars
10/27/09 Shaun Your life must really suck. Have you ever laughed? I'll be not. 5 stars
10/26/09 Aaron One of the best zombie movies yet. This guy doesn't know what he is talking about. 5 stars
10/25/09 Jon You are fundamentally lazy and witless. Next time actually watch the movie you review! 5 stars
10/25/09 alex the film was tuly amazing. i don't know how you can give it such a bad review. 5 stars
10/18/09 Paul A completely enjoyable and hilarious film followed up by a terrible review. 5 stars
10/17/09 Dude Could have been better but not muvh 4 stars
10/16/09 ThisMovie WasGreat, I don't think you actually paid attention, because you're missing many points. 5 stars
10/15/09 tim my favorite zombie movie by far. this reviewer is an idiot and should be shot. they are pro 5 stars
10/15/09 Big Ben only watch if you looking a witless movie with underdeveloped characters 2 stars
10/14/09 Hart Joanie liked it on her smoke break. Good enough for me. 3 stars
10/14/09 Excellence This doesn't even compare to Shaun of the Dead. 2 stars
10/13/09 Pip enjoy the simple things in life laugh a little think less why else watch a movie? 5 stars
10/12/09 BOB Crap review. I don't lool to Zombie movies for social & political commentry, try the news. 4 stars
10/12/09 Collin Great review! thank you for not buying into the hype 2 stars
10/12/09 jake i didnt know movie critics had all that much more of a life compared to those who play WoW 5 stars
10/11/09 Tg You must be a blast at parties... 4 stars
10/06/09 The Grinch Mr. Childress, thanks for not giving away one of the coolest scenes, unlike IMabigDumBass 5 stars
10/06/09 PAUL SHORTT STRAINED, VIOLENT AND EMPTY 2 stars
10/05/09 Man Out 6 Bucks Felt unscripted: merely ad-libbed as the film rolled. A TV movie with a big screen budget. 2 stars
10/05/09 MARIA WILLIG One of the funniest films this year! 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Oct-2009 (R)
  DVD: 02-Feb-2010

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Oct-2009
  DVD: 02-Feb-2010




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