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‘Zombieland’ the 88 minute long adventure has been dubbed as a part of the sub genre of ‘zom-com’ and has hit our screens in 2009 on October 2nd with the essence of true horror and comedy. The film tells the story of survivors of a zombie apocalypse, who meet and try to continue surviving on their planet which is forever descending into a downward spiral of despair. Rated a 15 this film is film of hilarious and suspense filled moments to shock and stun. With other zombie films which also include horror such as ‘Shaun of the dead’ already in existence it cannot be ignored that ‘Zombieland’ had to live up to the expectations of the audience which would already be spectacularly high. You are welcomed to ‘The United States of Zombieland’ and thrown head first into the blood soaked action. This is truly as suspense filled rollercoaster ride of drama, tears and laughter. Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin and a surprising legend star in this horror. Right from the offset you are immediately catapulted into the un-dead action up close and personal.
Plant Earth has been struck with the zombie apocalypse, Columbus knows that he has been lucky to survive for as long as he has. The endearing self confessed loner Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), tells the tale of what he now calls ‘The United States of Zombieland’ and explains what has led him and the world to this point. He is the main protagonist in this film bursting at the seams with impressive stunts, blood, gore and violence, all with humour and light hearted energy weaved within it. As you become more familiar with Columbus, you begin to discover his loveable quirks and awkward characteristics as he guides you through his new life with the un-dead. His commentary has a conversational tone and during the course of the film you begin to understand and connect with his character. He truly proves how sometimes the most unlikely people make the best heroes. The title sequence is seemingly his stream of consciousness which appears to be a source of one way dialogue informing the audience.
Columbus’ extensive list of rules have got him this far, but he soon realises that he needs more than rules to survive. This comes in the form of someone who is straight talking, deadly and dangerous. Tallahassee could not be more different from his new companion Columbus. They both start their journey separately but end up joining forces in an attempt to fight for survival. Although they are direct opposites they manage to combine forces to create a successful zombie fighting team. They both end up with more than they bargained for in more ways than one. Woody Harrelson is seemingly perfect for the part of Tallahassee. Although he is presented to the audience as a mysterious and laid back it later becomes apparent that he is not all that he seems.
All is not what they seem with Witchita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), having both starred in other films, they do not disappoint in this film. Stone having been a part of ‘House Bunny’ and making her debut in ‘Superbad’ is no stranger to the film industry. Her sassy character of Witchita soon has a huge impact on the other characters in the film and seems to keep them on their toes. Sidekick and younger sister Little Rock (Breslin) has also appeared in ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ and ‘My Sister’s Keeper’, both in which she had major roles takes on the character of ‘Little Rock’ with true talent and expertise. Both actresses hold their own in the film and ensure that both characters have masses of impact on the audience although their input is lesser in comparison to Eisenberg and Harrelson.
The slow motion opening title sequence establishes the tone for the remainder of the film. It uses a range of shots including close up shots, establishing shots and medium shots. The music and the shot types are a key feature into creating the suspense in the film. There are scenes to make you jump and action to make you wince and hide your eyes with your hands as shields. So be warned and watch with caution as the violence and bile-spewing zombies grip you. A wide variety of shot types have been used to create the many different emotions experienced throughout the film. A montage of different clips was used to show the different issues and establish what happens using the introduction. The montage helps to illustrate the horror and comedy throughout the film. The special effects and makeup department have really gone to town on ‘Zombieland’ to create the convincing blockbuster and engrossing adventure set to the capture the attention of the audience. High octane stunts and pyrotechnics are presented to the viewers, no expense has been spared to create ‘Zombieland’. Point of view shots (POV) have been used to help us to understand and live the action from Columbus’ perspective. An example of this is in the parking lot where there are some zombies lurking, the shot turns to a POV shot and transports the audience into the film. Tracking and establishing shots help to familiarise the audience with the location and circumstances of different scenes. Close up shots (CU) are another way in which the director and writers helped the audience to connect with Columbus, they have been used to show the expressions on his face and evoke sympathy.
It is true that you need to expect the unexpected in this horrifically side splitting, teen horror movie. With other teen horrors along similar subjects such as ‘Shaun of the dead’ also with the age certificate of 15, ‘Zombieland’ was to be heavily scrutinised. It is safe to say that it has exceeded all expectations.
The excellent minds of writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and director Ruben Fleischer have come together to create this astoundingly chaotic film. The age rating of 15 has been applied to the film, this is on account of the high frequency of violence and strong language that is featured during the course of the tale. This is understandable as the violence is portrayed in ‘Zombieland’ is frequent and gruesome. There are many elements to the film which help to convey a sense of horror with undertones of humour. It shows how both Reese and Wernick spent no time clowning around in the process as blood, sweat, decapitation and tears have crafted the masterpiece that is ‘Zombieland’.
Countless stunts, fire, guns, zombies and ‘twinkies’. What more could you want from a zom-com? Well, ‘Zombieland’ takes all of these expectations and adds to them with the appearances of a well known actor and throws in the guide for you to survive the zombie apocalypse.
So “limber up”, “check the backseat” and “fasten your seatbelts” because it really is “time to nut up, or shut up”.




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