“Zombieland”: surreal comedy with real emotion

Alexander Kohnstamm

Giving the world yet another spectacular film in the zombie horror/comedy genre, “Zombieland” is America’s response to the U.K.’s “Shaun of the Dead.” The movie is a horror comedy that focuses on two men: Columbus, played by Jesse Eisenberg, and Tallahassee, played by Woody Harrelson, and their survival of a world overrun with zombies.
Columbus is your stereotypical stay-at-home loner who plays “World of Warcraft” and fears everything around him, but we later see this fear playing a major role in ensuring his survival. Columbus is alongside Tallahassee, who is a gun-loving badass with a deep hatred of zombies and a personal mission of finding Twinkies.
The two characters later encounter Wichita, wonderfully played by Emma Stone, of “Superbad” and “The Rocker” fame, and her little sister Little Rock, played by Abigail Breslin, notable for “Little Miss Sunshine.” The four of them initially find it difficult to act as a team, but throughout the course of the film, they slowly become attached to each other.
Director Ruben Fleischer is a relative newcomer to the big screen, but he shows much promise with “Zombieland.” Although the film is filled with gore and graphic violence, these aspects do not detract from the humor that ensues along the way. The film also features a wonderful cameo from Bill Murray – the cameo was originally going to be given to Michael Jackson, but for obvious reasons, this did not pan out. The movie picks up momentum as it goes, which makes the film’s length, a little over 80 minutes, seem like nothing.
“Zombieland” acts as a sort of survival guide to living in a zombie-infested world. Most of the comedy that surrounds Columbus’ character is based off his list of reoccurring rules, which are flawlessly placed in the background to remind the audience how to survive a zombie infestation.
Where this film surpasses “Shaun of the Dead” is in the real emotion that is injected into it, especially surrounding Tallahassee’s character. It’s rare to find such a surreal comedy that has such genuine emotion in it.
I really enjoyed the film overall; it had an amazing soundtrack and great acting by most of the cast – with the exception of Eisenberg, who I thought could have been easily replaced by a better actor. The only true plot point I would have changed would have been to make the plot revolve around Tallahassee’s character instead of Columbus’.
It would have been more enjoyable to see how the more exciting Tallahassee character dealt with zombies on a regular basis, but overall I would recommend this movie to anyone, or at least to those with strong stomachs.