ZOMBIELAND is director Ruben Fleischer's debut feature and is very self-consciously modelled on genius British horror-comedies like SHAUN OF THE DEAD and SEVERANCE. Now there are three things that are essential for a good horror-comedy, and not to belabour the point, the movie has to be a) scary b) funny and c) <NATCH!
> the comedy and the horror have to originate from the same place.
ZOMBIELAND is not scary. Sure there are lots of blood-spattered zombies marauding round the USA and some good comically depicted Zombie Kills of the Week, but nothing that's actually up there with the East European craziness of SEVERANCE or the zombies-attack-the-pub scene in SHAUN OF THE DEAD. There's never any doubt that Woody Harrelson is gonna kick everybody's butt.
ZOMBIELAND is, however, rather funny. I very much like Jesse Eisenberg's deadpan narration as the loser geek who finds a strange kind of "family" with three other survivors - a cowboy-hat wearing mean-machine (Woody Harrelson) and two sisters (Abigail Breslin and Emma Stone). I LOVE the little culture-clash conversations as the teenage girl explains to the middle-aged hick the concept of Hannah Montana, or the frustrated teenage boy gets excited for the kid as she watches GHOSTBUSTERS for the first time. I love that when they ask Bill Murray if he has any regrets, he answers "Garfield".
Thing is, none of the comedy in ZOMBIELAND originates from the fact that these people are being chased across America by zombies! Nope, there's nothing to match that opening scene of SHAUN OF THE DEAD where a bleary-eyed Shaun goes out to get some milk and doesn't even notice the zombification of London. And that absence of Zombie-originated humour is, ladies and gents, just lazy writing.
Still, for all that, ZOMBIELAND is funny enough to warrant the price of admission, just think of it as a messed up comedy rather than being horrific. And my god, Bill Murray still has it!
ZOMBIELAND is on release in the US, UK, Canada, Estonia, Argentina, Kazakhstan and Russia. It opens on October 23rd in Denmark and Sweden. It opens on November 19th in Greece and on November 26th in France, Singapore, Slovenia, Poland and Spain. It opens on December 3rd in Belgium, Egypt, Australia, Ukraine, Brazil and Iceland. It opens on December 11th in Germany and Romania and on December 17th in Croatia and Portugal. It opens on January 15th in the Netherlands and Finland.
Eventual tags: horror, comedy, ruben fleischer, rhett reese, paul wernick, jesse eisenberg, woody harrelson, emma stone, abigail breslin, amber heard, billy murray, derek grag, david sardy, michael bonvillain, dv.