Main cast: Woody Harrelson (Tallahassee), Jesse Eisenberg (Columbus), Emma Stone (Wichita), Abigail Breslin (Little Rock), and Bill Murray (Himself)
Director: Ruben Fleischer
With the sequel releasing in Malaysia just a few days from now, I suppose it is time I stop procrastinating and watch Zombieland. The reason I didn’t way back then when it was first released is because I have an irrational loathing of Jesse Eisenberg. He has an annoying mug and he plays the same variation of the obnoxious character every time, and it’s no different here.
This is another zombie apocalypse movie, but it aims to be different by being a comedy. Wait, that’s not new. Anyway, the main characters here are referred by the names of places that have meaning to them. Woody Harrelson’s character is from Tallahassee, for example, as is Jesse Eisenberg’s character being from and is now heading towards Columbus. At any rate, Columbus is a shit-in college kid who rarely lives his room aside from going to classes, preferring to play World of Warcraft instead. He manages to survive the zombies due to a set of personal rules that end up being more gimmicky than anything when it comes to the overall story. He first encounters Tallahasee during a highway standoff and the two end up traveling together as they are both heading east – Columbus hoping to go back to his hometown and maybe find his parents alive (not that he has much hope of them surviving the zombies), while Tallahassee just wants to keep moving after having left his beloved now dead dog behind. These two men eventually meet and team up with the sisters Wichita and Little Rock, and hence a road trip is born.
Despite being a zombie movie, Zombieland is mostly a story about relationships and camaraderie, with the overall effect being more like a sitcom than horror film. For the most part, it sort of works, although somewhat ironically the character that is most over the top, Tallahassee, ends up having the most human character development of the lot. Columbus is basically Jesse Eisenberg in another movie, while Emma Stone manages to make her cynical character likable but not much else. Both sisters pull a dumb stunt towards the end, by the way, but I can understand how desperation may drive them to that length. It’s hard to stay optimistic during a zombie apocalypse, however.
As a horror movie, this one is a complete dud. If anything, the zombies feel more like fillers – the countryside is conveniently free from zombies unless the movie needs a jump scare or a zombie attack, allowing the main characters to act like they are in a sitcom. Zombieland feels like two different movies clumsily spliced into one, and this identity crisis makes it hard for me to fully get into the movie.
At any rate, this is an alright movie, and Woody Harrelson really makes the most out of his character to leave an impact. It doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be, however, so it ends up being quite neither here nor there as well at the end of the day.