I’m still lucking out on finding worthwhile flicks as zombies and vampires continue to over-saturate the media landscape. Try searching through Netflix streaming alone, there was something about a zombie stripper, ugh. I won’t blurt the surprise cameo despite this movie’s age or The Guardian ruining it for me when they mentioned the actor/actress having a milestone birthday.
Taking a tip from Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland focuses on the humorous possibilities of the apocalypse through the a college student’s perspective (the narrator) and his redneck companion (Woody at his finest in years). The music heard in the background tries to convey this black humor: Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” accompanies the opening credits and “City of Rust” by the Doves when they drive into the ruins of Los Angeles. It also breaks the fourth wall through the narrator’s rules appearing constantly; like a VH-1 Pop-Up Video. For example, whenever someone is trying to outrun the zombies, the words “Rule #1: Cardio” gets displayed in the corner.
There are serious/heavy moments too. The characters don’t want to become personally or emotionally attached so everyone is named after the city they’re from (or trying to get to); it makes killing an infected companion less painful. Even the redneck lets his guard down and cries about who he misses before the world fell apart.
Then comes the violence. Can’t have a zombie movie without the undead being killed off in gruesome and/or funny ways. However, these people aren’t dead. According to the narrator’s quick exposition, they’re infected with a virus like 28 Days Later but too much of civilization has collapsed for a cure or vaccine. This made the killing a tad disturbing. Overall, the execution resembled an old favorite of mine, Night of the Comet because in Shaun, the epidemic got contained and civilization learned to live with the undead as dangerous pets.
Zombieland lives up the hype, water-cooler jabber and expectations. It joins my list of the great zombie-apocalypse movies. I wouldn’t recommend it for children prone to nightmares.