While many zombie movies focus on the gore, or the decay of society, or the usual soap-opera drama hijinks that writers are wont to turn to when they run out of good z-stories to spin, Zombieland is an honest and sincere look at the people who actually can survive in a world overrun by the undead. Sure they have their own personal walls and issues, they follow their own rules, and they each have their own ways of distancing themselves from possible tragedies –but it is all approached with a logical sense of humor and lightness that one needs to carry in order to survive such apocalyptic challenges. That is primarily why there is a sincere sense of humor in the film and why it is so fun to watch.
What is Zombieland?
Zombieland is a horror comedy film that focuses on the story of a young man who calls himself Columbus as he tries to make his way in the post apocalyptic world of the undead. In this film, the mad cow disease has begun the spread of a ‘mad person disease’ which then led to the ‘mad zombie disease’. The United States has since fell into ruin. In order to create a sense of distance among himself and other survivors, Columbus and the other people he encounters use names of locations as their nicknames. So he is joined by Tallahassee (a older man with an amazing skill for the violent dispatching of zombies), a young woman named Wichita, and her younger sister, Little Rock. Despite their initial intentions about wanting to survive independently of each other, the four come to learn to trust and count on one another, forming bonds they would never normally make in the world full of zombies.
Throughout the film, Columbus keeps stating various rules that he follows in order to stay alive –most of which are staple rules that most characters in order zombie films tend to forget or ignore altogether (such as being careful of bathrooms, checking the back seats of cars, and of course, making sure to shoot a zombie twice in the head). It is a little tongue-in-cheek, but it also means that this is the one zombie movie where you never have to feel frustrated about some character performing that stupid mistake that everyone already knows is a bad idea. Columbus mentions over two dozen different rules throughout the film, but from his dialogue (plus the fact that some of the rules are numbered at the 30’s and 40’s) there are many more rules that are not mentioned at all.
Plenty of Reason to Smile
This film is fun to watch, and not just because it strays away from the usual over-gored make-up that zombies tend to get in other media. Yes, the “zombies” in this film are a lot less undead and tend to be a little more on the crazy, psychotic side (which feels very 28 Days Later inspired especially when you consider the fact that they can run). The fun is in watchi
While most zombie films see survivors fighting against everything and anything thrown at them, Columbus and the people with him have embraced their situation and their plight. This is their new normal, and they are not bitter about it. Even upon hearing the news that his hometown was destroyed and his family may be dead was not enough to turn Columbus into an emo kid. In fact, the characters thrive and grow in the situations they go through. And it is a fun experience to watch that –the funny dialogue and spectacular zombie kills are just icing on the cake.
A Feel Good Film
While the film does not end with the promise of a cure for the zombie virus, it does solve one major thing for all they characters: they all find the happiness they have been looking for. And ultimately, this is a much more promising and happy ending than most horror films can give. It feels satisfying to watch this crew of mis-fitting characters jive so well with other and in the process, end up killing a ton of zombies in the process. Consider watching this movie as a nice way to top off a marathon of darker and sadder zombie flicks.