What is it about zombies that make people create such a natural tie-in to comedy? It seems that there have been more horror-comedies that were about zombies than any other monster movie I can think of. There will be lots of comparisons made of this movie, from first time director Ruben Fleischer, and the Simon Pegg classic "Shaun of the Dead." I'm a HUGE fan of "Shaun" and in my opinion, "Zombieland" stands up, toe-to-to with it; the only difference being that "Shaun" was the dry British version and "Zombieland" is 100% USAsskicking. The film starts off with a cold opening followed by opening credits that not only set the tone for the film, but sets the level of violence as well. This is not a movie for the squeamish. If there's some horrible act of violence coming up in the film that you just know they'll cut away from because it's much too graphic, guess again 'cause they're showing it. In fact a big part of the comedy of the film is the shock at how high they're willing to take some of the gore. The movie stars Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin ("Little Miss Sunshine"), Emma Stone ("Superbad") and Jessie Eisenberg ("Adventureland" I guess he can't stay away from movies with "land" in the title). Eisenberg is still very new on the scene and he's apparently who Hollywood calls on when Michael Cera says "no" to a role because the two are virtually the same person. Just like Cera, he can play one kind of part, and that's the awkward, shy, funny guy and he plays it well. That's pretty much the cast of the movie minus a hoard of the undead. The only other person in the movie is a cameo that should go down in history as the BEST CAMEO IN ANY MOVIE EVER MADE! What the director, Fleischer, did in this was keep the film funny from beginning to end. He didn't fall into the trap of it getting too serious or too scary or too sappy at all. His #1 goal in this was to make sure you have a damn good time watching it and you're entertained; he doesn't fall short of that one bit. The only issue that it runs into is that it has a saggy middle act. It starts strong, ends strong and gets rather dry in-between. It's still very funny, but looses its zombie allure by not having any scares, jumps or action for about 40 minutes. Of course he makes up for that and then some with the climax. The credit in this film can be spread evenly all the way around. Not one actor carries it more than the others and they all seemed like they had a blast filming it...I know I would. If you have a strong stomach and a sick sense of humor, then "Zombieland" is your idea of a fun night. If you don't, well...let's be honest; a movie called "Zombieland" probably didn't appeal to you anyway.
Zombieland (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: A-