Saturday, October 3, 2009

Zombieland Review

By: Ama Reeves

"While other monsters clamor for attention with capes and claws and bandages, the zombie has embedded itself into our consciousness with little more than a stumble and a moan. Metaphorically, this classic creature embodies a number of our greatest fears. Most obviously, it is our own death, personified. The physical manifestation of that thing we fear the most. More subtly, the zombie represents a number of our deeper insecurities. The fear that deep down we may be little more than animals, concerned only with appetite. Zombies can represent the threat of collectivism against individuality. The notion that we might be swallowed up and forgotten, our special-ness devoured by the crowd.

Oddly those rotten bastards also give us hope. The undead maybe tenacious, single minded and relentless as lava, but they are also stupid and slow; ineffectual and inept. You don't have to be Van Helsing, or even Peter Venkman to throw down with a zombie. Anyone with a pulse can ste up. As long as you keep your head, defeating a zombie is not an insurmountable task. You don't need spells, or stakes, or silver bullets, you just need your wits and a weapon. A gun is good, but most blunt objects will do, things we might have around the house or garden. It is perhaps this combination of hope in the face of terror, that makes the zombie so attractive to us. The idea that we could ourselves, beat death. Beat it until it's brains come out it's ears."
-Simon Pegg from Shaun of the Dead

When I first read this quote by Simon Pegg in the back of a Walking Dead graphic novel it stuck with me. What could be more true and relevant to our obsession with zombies. Anyone can be the hero in a zombie flick and this is the sentiment that Ruben Fleischer was banking on when making Zombieland.

The cast was solid, even though I've never been a fan of Jesse Eisenberg (in this writer's opinion the poor man's Michael Cera) I did feel he played the part of the neurotic, nerdy underdog to the fullest. Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin were phenomenal as gun slinging sisters and completely believable as post zombie apocalypse survivors. Of course, a great film for Woody Harrelson, rarely depicted as an action hero but it suited him well. I think on top of individual performances the ensemble, which had a majority of the dialog for the entire film worked will together and the chemistry was incredibly believable.

The zombies looked great throughout the film and something I personally loved is the individuality of the zombies- housewife zombies, little girl tea party zombies, farmer zombies, etc. No mass of the unidentifiable dead for Zombieland. No sir! The make up was understated for the most part but not terrible. I believe most fans of the genre will be pretty okay with this.

As for the story of Zombieland, don't go in expecting a horror film, you will be disappointed. This film is more in the vein of Shaun of the Dead, with silly deaths, characters with "rules" for beating the undead, and great bad ass one-liners. On top of it being a film about survival it's also about people coming together and creating new bonds after the rest of the world is dead and gone, well... kinda.

I highly suggest running out and seeing this film. If you hate it, it's only a whopping 1:20 mins.