Monday, December 07, 2009

ZOMBIELAND - Full of Fun & Thrills

Cast: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin and Bill Murray (as himself)
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Screenplay: Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese
Time: 81 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)

WHACKING FUN: Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg (kneeling) taking a shot at a zombie

PREAMBLE: The A-H1N1 pandemic has made it easier for us to accept the premise of Zombieland - set in the US when most of its population is affected by a virus that turns humans into flesh-eating zombies. With the plague infecting most of the country, America has become the United States of Zombieland.

However, this is not another horror flick like Evil Dead. It leans more towards Shaun Of The Dead in terms of horror-comedy.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? The zombies of Zombieland are not corpses who have returned from the dead. They are plague victims whose brains have rotted, leaving behind cannibalistic creatures hunting for live flesh. There are very few humans left and our narrator, 'Columbus' (Jesse Eisenberg), who bears the name of the city from which he hails, claims he has survived into the post-apocalyptic era by following a list of 31 rules - stay in good shape (to outrun the zombies), beware of public bathrooms, always wear a seatbelt, don't be a hero, etc.

When the movie opens, we find Columbus in Texas where he meets and teams up with redneck zombie-killer Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) on a road trip to Florida. While all Columbus wants is to survive, Tallahassee is on a quest for an edible Twinkie bar. They hook up with sisters Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and soon Columbus' outlook of life changes.

HITS & MISSES: The movie, seen mostly from Columbus' point-of-view, is adequately funny - with touches of the bizarre and a few jolts. This is because director Ruben Fleischer takes his time to flesh out the characters and when we reach the third act, we care for them. Eisenberg is cool and likeable as the emotionally vulnerable protag while Stone and Breslin, who have a few surprises up their sleeves, are fun to watch.

However, Harrelson steals the show here giving one of his best performances as the kooky redneck. Bill Murray has a wonderful cameo playing himself.

THE LOWDOWN: Yeah, book a trip to Zombieland and have a good laugh.


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