To survive in Zombieland, you have to follow the rules:
Rule #1: Cardio. These are fast, famished zombies and they will run you down…unless you have speed and stamina.
Rule #2: Beware of bathrooms. You’re exposed and encumbered, and there’s usually only one exit.
Rule #3: Seatbelts. When you’re whipping around trying to run over and/or shake off zombies, you want to be sure that *you* stay put.
Rule #4: Doubletap. Shoot ’em once to stop ’em, shoot ’em again to make sure they stay stopped.
And so on. These are the first few of an ever-expanding set of rules that Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) has derived for survival in Zombieland. It seems that mad cow disease mutated into a more immediate and vile infection, one which causes the infected to become black-goo-spewing, human-flesh-eating, fast-running, not-very-smart zombies, who roam America looking for their next man-wich.
Columbus is a nice young man who is trying to wend his way back from his dorm in Austin, Texas to his parent’s home in Columbus, Ohio (hence his nickname). He meets up with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), who is a hard-bitten, hard-driving, hard-hitting, zombie-killing machine (with a cool hat, more on that below). The unlikely duo decide to join forces for as long as they can stand each other, and along the way manage to get conned by a couple of grifting sisters, Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who take the boys’ Escalade and leave them stranded.
The tale unfolds from there, and I won’t say much more about the plot. Zombieland is both a zombie film and a comedy, and it does both genres very, very well. It compares vaguely to Shaun of the Dead, but it has a much different vibe, and is better as both a zombie film and a comedy.
And the laughs are big…BIG. After the film, my throat hurt from the laughing and hooting I’d been doing throughout almost the entire film, which is amazingly short at 83 minutes. There was even an eye-misting interlude shuffled in between the carnage and mayhem, which was suprisingly effective and well-done.
The film also earns its R rating, as the violence and gore are excrutiatingly high-def and are often presented in super-ultra-mega-slo-motion, so that you can practically count the droplets in the spray of zombie-ejecta, and count the shreds of flesh between their teeth.
However, if you can handle over-the-top-gore and convulsive laughter, then Zombieland just might be the picture for you.
Oh, and stay all the way through the credits.
Okay, now, about the hat. Woody Harrelson’s character is wearing his hat (seen to the left) in virtually every single scene. And I can tell you from direct experience that that is one cool hat. It’s made by a company called Real Deal Brazil, and they make them from reclaimed/recycled tarps used on trucks that ship goods across the Brazilian rain forest. Marie and I each have had one of these hats since long before we had heard about Zombieland, and they are perfect for working out in the scorching Central Texas summer heat. The hats are tough and so far are indestructible – in fact, their motto is that you don’t take care of the hat, the hat takes care of you.