Halloween Scene: Zombieland (2009)

It’s really strange write “2009” after a movie and then realizing that was last year. I don’t have the opportunity to write the date much, but it still blows my mind that it’s 2010. Where’s my hover board?!!! Okay, enough of that. I decided after working hard the last two days and this morning, that I would treat myself to a movie at the cheap theaters across the river. So, I got up, got tonight’s dinner in the crock pot, wrote a story for Marvel.com and then went on my way to the Spring Hills Mall in Poughkeepsie. Here’s the thing though, it’s not really a mall and I had a bitch of a time finding the place (it’s around back with a very tiny sign) and there’s another mall in the same general area. Eventually I found my way, paid my $2 and sat down in a theater that reminded me of the AMCs I used to go to as a kid, the kinds with an aisle right down the middle and a 90 person capacity. I thought I was going to be alone throughout the movie, but some people came in right as it was starting and sat behind me which made me paranoid for a second, then I realized that I wasn’t living in a horror movie (hopefully) and chilled out. This one got a little long, so hit the jump for the full review.

So, how did I think of the actual movie that made R-rate zombie flicks big time again? Well, I loved it of course. And here’s why. It’s funny, mostly smart and has a killer cast of some of my favorite actors including Jesse Eisenberg (loved him in Adventureland), Emma Stone (fantastic in Superbad and The House Bunny), Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine is the shiz) and Woodey Harrelson (Cheers, duh). Oh and it includes the triumphant return of one Mr. Bill Murray to the realm of actually funny comedy. I had no idea he was in this, so that was a great surprise for me (sorry if I just ruined it for you, but then, why are you reading this?). He was hilarious and tragic and tragically hilarious.

Hey, I guess I should mention the plot. Eisenberg, who has a list of rules he follows to stay alive in the post zombie apocalypse world he calls Zombieland, hooks up with Harrelson to get home (Columbus, Ohio, which is only 45 minutes from where I went to college and the destination of the Great Wedding Adventure of 2009). They eventually run afoul of conwomen (girls) Stone and her sister Breslin. Eventually they start traveling together, though the alliance is shaky at best because the girls have trust issues. They stop off in plenty of places, but end up heading towards LA where there’s an amusement park Breslin wants to go to, she thinks there’s no zombies there. Everyone goes along for the ride and the make a stop at Bill Murray’s house for a few days. In the end, the girls ditch the boys and head to the park where they turn all the lights on at night and have fun, which only brings a horde of zombies.

The movie’s hilarious and yet serious in a way similar to Shaun Of The Dead, but without seeming like that movie. There’s also a few great stylistic things that director Ruben Fleischer does that I really like. While Eisenberg explains his rules in voice over, they appear on screen and kind of interact with the surroundings in fun ways. He also does these super slow motion moments in the beginning and other times during zombie attacks where you can see drops of drinks flying all over the places and every shard of glass. In a time when fight scenes tend to be incredibly fast and jump-cutty, it’s nice to see some slow stuff with lots of gore. And the gore is pretty good for the most part, though Fleischer does cut away during some of the more gruesome moments, like Harrelson attacking a big fat zombie with hedge clippers and cutting his head off.

My one problem with the movie came at the very end when the girls run off, get to the park at night and decide to turn everything on, we’re talking lights, rides the whole nine. But, hey, that’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard. Who would do that? After surviving two months (probably more by the time they actually reached LA) in a world full of flesh eating zombies,you decide to break into a place (crashing through the gate no less), basically putting yourself in a giant sign saying “Fresh food!” for the zombies to see. It’s a logical gap that bothered me. I got worried that it would make me dislike the movie, kind of like how Casino Royale’s seven or so endings made me dislike that one in the long run (though I haven’t seen it a second time), but in the end, I liked what happened enough that it didn’t bother me too much. I mean, we are talking about a movie that’s built around rules for staying safe and then all that happens. It’s like the screenwriters knew they wanted to end in an amusement park swarming with zombies at night because it would be cool and just drove their characters there. And hey, it was cool. The the way the girls tried to avoid the zombies by jumping on that ride was also kinda dumb.

So, the beginning of the end bothered me, but not enough to knock me out of the movie all together, though I’m curious to see how I feel about it on a second viewing, which I’m sure I’ll get to soon enough. Hopefully I can get to the cheap theater a few times a month to catch up on all the movies I’ve missed out on in theaters. I’m sure you all enjoy reading reviews about movies that came out months ago.

Two questions I wanted answered: how did Eisenberg get his shotgun and do people who die naturally turn into zombies?

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