I'll freely admit that I'm a sucker for a zombie movie. That's right, you bring back the dead and I'm right there with you. So when I saw the trailer for ZOMBIELAND, I was mostly hooked. I say mostly because after Shaun Of The Dead, zombie comedies have a lot to live up to, and ZOMBIELAND manages to live up to the hype...mostly.
The story here is largely what you'd expect, a band of survivors trying to escape the zombie hordes and just find a place to live in peace...but there are some differences. First, there's the 'rules' gimmick. The lead character (who's a bit of a nerd) has written down a list of rules to help you survive the zombie apocalypse. Rules like, Cardio Is Important, Avoid Strip Clubs, Don't Be A Hero...and other rules that he's discovered through trial and error. Then there's Woody Harrelson as Tallahassee, a zombie fighter who's travelling the country looking for the last twinkee...yes, Hostess gets a big shout-out! When the nerd and the hero team up, they come across two sisters and soon the four are travelling together.
ZOMBIELAND isn't what I'd call a groundbreaking zombie movie, it's not as scary or as gory as a typical zombie movie and it's not a funny as your typical comedy....ZOMBIELAND falls somewhere in between, and that's where it really fails. Not to belabor the comparison, but a movie like Shaun Of The Dead really understood that a zombie movie is really about the gore and the horror of the living dead, while Zombieland takes the flesh eating monsters and turns them into punchlines, even when the zombies are supposed to be scary and menacing, the movie has spent so much time showing us how easy it is to beat them, that you don't really feel any suspense for the characters that are in danger.
The bottom line here is that, if you're a real zombie fan...like me...then you'll probably enjoy ZOMBIELAND, but if you're looking for either a zombie movie or a comedy, then you should look elsewhere. It's fun, but it's not fully either genre. I'm giving ZOMBIELAND 2 1/2 out of 4 cigars, it's okay for fans, but this isn't going to convert anyone who's on the fence.