One might question whether there really is something like a zombie movie, I mean most zombie movies have zombies but are not necessarily about zombies. The zombies pose a threat most of the times Zombie movies are more of a mirror on human society than they are about the undead. The undead are in the movie but they are undeveloped in most cases. They stumble around and eat people and basically do nothing more.
The United States has been run over by zombies and the few survivors are all on a constant road trip to some place that has been rumored to be zombie free. We follow Columbus, a young nerdy teenager trying to go from college to his parents to see if they’re still alive. Columbus is not his real name as everybody is referred to as their home town due to some bonding issues. Don’t get to close to anyone you meet, if they turn into a zombie you have to kill them. It’s better not to know a person by his name, it makes it easier. This is one of Columbus’ rules and he has a whole list of these survival tips. They make sense and are used for comic relief also. Columbus is joined on his trip with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) and eventually a couple of sisters who have mastered the art of con. Basically this is kind of a road trip disguised as a zombie movie.
Like Shaun of the dead, Zombieland approaches the zombie material with humor. The movie uses zombies as a threat and as comic relief. The constant captions displaying rules are very funny as well as a lot of Zombie-kills. Especially Woody Harrelson who’s got a grudge against zombies and likes to take them out with the contents of a garden shed.
One of the highlights of the movie is an extended cameo by a Hollywood movie star, who plays himself here: Bill Murray. Bill plays with his persona and even confesses he dislikes Garfield, which made me wonder why he did the sequel.
In true road trip fashion Zombieland is more about people developing during the trip than it is about zombies. Columbus is a nerd, or even worse: a World of Warcraft nerd. He’s the guy that always was picked last at gym and yet he now is only one of a few survivors that haven’t been zombiefied yet. During the movie he will overcome demons and maybe even kiss a girl. Even a world ruled by zombies doesn’t keep mother nature down. Most of the characters develop during the movie which makes them all the more real. Only Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) was underdeveloped as we only got to knew her as this twelve year old kid who never got to be a kid.
Zombieland looks great, has a good cast and made me laugh out loud from time to time. It has also urged me to get a little book for notes to write down all those rules in. You never know…