I’m Going To Zombieland

I have long been a zombie fan. I love movies like Evil Dead, Shaun of the Dead, and 28 Days Later. Seeing the previews for Zombieland has struck all the right cords in me. It is not even a question of if, but when I’m going to see the movie. It is off to a fantastic start on Rotten Tomatoes, scoring a 93% thus far. The film is looking to be a strong contender for #1 when it opens this week on Friday, October 2nd. I don’t think Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs will repeat at #1, call me crazy.

There are lots of aspects to like about this film. First and foremost, you have to give it up to Woody Harrelson. He isn’t necessarily the best actor, nor is he in the best films, but he has a long and varied track record. Woody is not afraid to take chances, and I totally commend him for it. From the look of the previews, Zombieland looks like it has plenty of wacky comedy reminiscent of Kingpin, a film in which Woody Harrelson was terrific.

I know some people who dislike Jesse Eisenberg, because he seems to play the same character all the time (ala Michael Cera). It is a somewhat valid criticism, but much like Michael Cera it is hard to fault the guy for doing something so well. I certainly would like to see him break some new ground, but that doesn’t mean I still can’t appreciate the work he does still.

Emma Stone similarly has played the same character for the most part. The Rocker, SuperbadZombieland doesn’t look like it is going to shake up her career at all. The real surprise in the cast is Abigail Breslin, who so far in her brief career has consistently refused to be typecast, and been a pleasant surprise regardless of the role.   She reminds me of a young Jodie Foster.

There isn’t a lot of creditability in most of the important positions on the film. The director, Ruben Fleischer, hasn’t directed anything notable so far. The writers, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, haven’t been involved in writing anything notable. Normally that would be a concern, but in the past this has worked out well for the zombie genre. Zack Snyder came out of nowhere when he directed the remake of Dawn of the Dead, and Edgar Wright came out of obscurity (at least to Americans, his work on Spaced was fantastic) with Shaun of the Dead.

Ultimately, I think the amusing and slick trailers that have been released were the biggest selling point to me. I’m fairly open-minded when it comes to the films I see, and I love to watch trailers. I’ve always thought any movie can look good in 2 minutes. This can be a good warning system, since if a film’s trailer doesn’t look good in 2 minutes, why watch a two hour version of it. Additionally, the topic of zombie is one that continues to fascinate us – what would you do if you the undead came back to life? It is one of the characteristic trademarks of the apocalypse that we like to think about.

The film isn’t going to break any new ground in the zombie genre, but not all movies need to be revolutions. It is the entertainment industry because it is supposed to entertain, and if it delivers that I’m more than happy. After all, if I want to see an excellent, but depressing movie I’ll watch Frozen River.


Spencer was born and raised in New Mexico. He grew up with the many great films of the 1980’s before having his world rocked after seeing The Usual Suspects. He moved to Washington State to go to the University of Washington, and currently any free time he currently has is split between working on film projects and watching films.

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