film review: Zombieland (2009)1 Comment
The plan, on heading to the cinema for the evening, had actually been to see Pandorum… however a scheduling miscalculation meant that I missed the 6.40pm start time so had to go to Zombieland instead. And, despite being at the theatre 20 mins before Zombieland was due to start, I still managed to miss the first minute. Turns out 20 mins is not really enough time to pop down to McDonalds and get dinner… oh well. At least I got to see a film and I had been planning on seeing this one anyway so that’s cool.
If you don’t want to know what kind of zombies they are, skip the rest of this paragraph. If you do, they went for the fast-running plague infected zombie. It’s the modern choice I guess. Personally I’m not a zombie purist or anything, I accept all zombies as they come (film zombies of course, for real zombies I have a sword by my bed).
Zombieland is billed as a horror spoof and that’s pretty much all it is. It tries to distract us for a while in the middle with other, more meaningful, stuff, but to be honest you spend most of that time wondering when they’re going to kill another zombie. So you may as well ignore that bit and concentrate on the horror spoof part.
As a horror spoof it’s very good. Aside from that bit in the middle where they go soft on us, it is, as some people like to say, a “rollicking romp”. There’s blood and guts and flying words all over the place. Everything you want from a zombie flick. Well, you probably weren’t expecting the flying words (I think the last time I saw flying words in a film was Day Watch in 2006) but they looked good in the context. They also have a great cameo, so that’s cool as well.
The only real problem I had with it was that somewhere along the way they tried to be something more than a horror spoof. Now there’s nothing wrong with trying to be a little more than that but they didn’t quite pull it off. It was a little bit like they got worried that they wouldn’t be taken seriously so they tried to get a smidge serious and they slightly tried to weave a little romance into it as well. It worked for Shaun of the Dead however Shaun of the Dead was exceptional, they really worked the drama into the zombie story. My recommendation on this kind of mix is that if there’s a chance somewhere that it’s not going to work, then don’t try it. You can’t just shoehorn in a little bit and hope.
Aside from that it was strong all round. Great casting, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone seem to be two excellent up and coming actors, even if I do think there’s a good chance they’re going to be type cast for the next while (not into horror, just into their respective geeky boy and strong girl characters). Woody Harrelson was brilliant, great comedic actor and that cowboy hat really suits him. The plot made sense, which can be oh so lacking in some horror films. Characterisation… well, it wasn’t important.
All in all, Zombieland was a fun way to spend a Sunday evening and I can recommend it if you’re willing to overlook a bit of a drag in the middle. I can assure that it ends on a high.