Movie Review #802: Even though the gore comes off as a little excessive, ‘Zombieland”s four leads (and an epic cameo from Bill Murray) pump enough humor into this zombie comedy to make it enjoyable.
By Red Stewart
|Rated R (contains gore, violence, profanity)|
Horror-comedies had always confused me as I simply didn’t get why you would want to both scare and humor audience members. If I want to be frightened, I’ll attend a horror film; if I want to laugh my guts out, I’ll buy a ticket for a comedy.
Though it isn’t the first of its kind by a long shot, “Zombieland” was my first foray into the genre, and, having finished it, I think I now have an answer to my question. Horror-comedies are trying to make fun of you; they point out all the things that make you scream and instead have you giggle at them. In “Zombieland”, we have this apocalyptic future where a virus has turned most of the human population into mindless creatures. Four travelers (Eisenberg, Harrison, Stone, and Breslin), each adopting a pseudonym based on their intended destination, decide to band together in order to survive the odds.
“Zombieland” is very much a character-driven piece, and the four leads do a phenomenal job conveying their supposedly one-dimensional parts whilst secretly giving them depth. However, “Zombieland” drives through its narrative not through long conversations but dialogue-ridden action set pieces. We find out that Harrelson is an emotionally-torn man gleefully killing zombies through his brief banter with Eisenberg in battle zones. Stone and Breslin’s deceptive demeanor comes from their exchanges towards fellow civilians also trying to make a living in this day and age. And Eisenberg’s underlying heroicness… well, it’ll be obvious when you see it.
“Zombieland” has the occasional bits of cheesiness, but that’s more a side effect of the genre it’s parodying rather than the intent of the writing. The chemistry between the actors is great, and add on top of all that the most epic cameo in the history of cinema by Bill Murray, and you have a very entertaining movie that keeps the zombie genre fresh for potential new fans. ✴