Film Review: Zombieland (2009)

Reviewed by: Alex Lagerwey. Viewed on: 23/12/2009

‘It’s time to Nut up or Shut Up.’ – Tallahasse.

Film trends come in waves. I remember back in the day (those heady days) when I was a young teen, there was a glut of horror films inspired by Scream and The Blair Witch Project. If you had to pinpoint a trend of the past few years, its creature films. Zombies, vampires, werewolves, mutants, whatever. They are everywhere. And every now and then, you meet fans of the creature-feature genre who love it so much, they are willing to make an awesome piss-take.

Ruben Fleischer, making his feature-film debut in Zombieland is clearly a lover of the genre. The film chooses not to focus on the apocalypse or the cause of plague (which is revealed in a few throw away lines), but accepts that there is no cure and humorously gives you the rules to survive Z-Land…if you can.

Jesse Eisenberg plays one of the remaining few humans as the anal-retentive Columbus, who not only narrates the film as a giant ball of nerd-stereotyping, but lists his tried and tested rules for remaining un-zombified. The only other film I have seen Eisenberg in was Adventureland where he plays pretty much the same character, minus the Zombies. According to IMDb he has five more films in the works, so I’ll be hanging out to see if his range goes beyond standard nerd and delves into something more Hamlet-esque.

'You've got a pretty mouth...'

Columbus teams up with a few remaining survivors: Tallahassee, played by Woody Harrelson, the gun-wielding, red-necked, twinkie obsessed hick whose one skill in life is kicking zombie ass. Along with Witchita and her sister Little Rock, they head on to Hollywood where they meet the mother of all cameos and a giant blood filled theme-parked show down.

Zombieland has drawn many comparisons to another film that falls into the rom-zom-com genre, Shaun of the Dead, with Fleischer admitting that the Simon Pegg and Nick Frost masterpiece was his main inspiration. Coming away from the film I felt that both Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead indicate the key differences between American and British humour and to a lesser extent, their filmmaking styles. Where Shaun of the Dead is witty and clever with its running gags and comedic timing, Zombieland is crude, bloody and violent. Where the filmmakers of Shaun would opt for the laugh with flying records and zippy one-liners, Zombieland goes for the jugular, sometimes quite literally. Whenever there is a quite moment it is quickly interrupted by a plethora of weapons: chainsaws, pickaxes, motor vehicles and guns, guns, guns. With Shaun and the gang, the only gun that is used is for comedic effect, whereas everyone in Z-land wields their massive weapons with the precision of a surgeon, right down to 12-year-old Little Rock. Where Shaun is a super-nerd, his nerdom allows him to become a hero whereas Columbus is always overshadowed by the brute force of the mantastic Tallahassee.


Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed Zombieland more than I can express and if you’re looking for some good, dumb, clever fun with loads of gore and one kick-ass title sequence, this is your film. But when it comes to taking the piss out of Zombies, no one does it better than my boy Shaun.

More from Alexandra Lagerwey

Film Review: Zombieland (2009)

Reviewed by: Alex Lagerwey. Viewed on: 23/12/2009 'It's time to Nut up...
Read More


  • Z-land blows soon has bill murray pops up. AND……………………………… How the fuck can you go on a themepark rollercoaster with no one operating the ride!!!!! Is there like a time button that can control when the ride starts like on a camera….PISH POSH there is!!!!!!!!!!! 1st half of Z-land = rad, 2nd half = blows dogs for quarters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    love b

  • totally agree with b about bill murray, nearly drags the movie into the ground but the tide soon turns at it becomes pretty fucking epic with a good slo-motion scene towards the end

  • I’m sorry lads, has someone removed your funny bone?
    It was a cool piece of intertexual, dare we say, postmodern filmmaking. The whole time Tallahasse is referencing Billy Murray films and it makes for a pretty cool death scene.
    Then again, Woody DID work with Bill in another movie and perhaps this was the only way they could get someone like him in the film? I wouldn’t say he is the ‘tippy top’ of the A-Lister list, but I didn’t hate the sequence.

    • PISH POSH filmblerg,
      There is a fine line between awesome and fucking retarded. In z-land’s case, Bill Murray buttfucks the line in favour for over the top fucking retarded jokes that remind the viewer that “yes, this isnt REAL, its just a zombie movie were people are acting so we can put Bill Murray in somewhere cause his some sort of comedy gangster”. Yes, i do realize all zombie films aren’t real, but its a film making SIN when u remind the audience that their watching bullshit. BILL MURRAY AS HIMSELF IN A ZOMBIE FLICK IS STUPID AND A SIN!!!! And why is marijuana in every film these days and ALWAYS depicted as COOL!!! Do drug dealers fund these films so people see mary jane as cool and as a result will support the booming weed trade.

      Any who, Stick that in ur intertexual postmodern filmmaking pipe filmblerg and smoke it cause its cool!!!

      love b

  • right on! high 5 to b. filmblerg i dont give a shit about intertextual post modern filmmaking if it takes me out of the films own reality, suddenly im not watching a zombie film anymore, im watching bill murray prance around the screen trying to feel relevant, and first-time director or not… way to kill your film mate. the zombies were already not that frightening, enter bill murray and the whole thing turns retarded

  • Why do I get the feeling that you guys are the jocks of the film world?
    While we little nerds sit and talk about the theory side with our big words and terms, you’re all ‘stick it up your arse losers!’
    If you happened to read what I wrote originally, I am pretty much agreeing with you by making comparisons between Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland – saying that Shaun is clever and sly while Zombieland is like the sledgehammer of Zombieflicks. Where Zombieland is all CHECK IT OUT WE GOT BILL MURRAY, Shaun is all, Hey we got Bill Nighy but we’re going to be cool about it.

    And therefore, I see it for what it is. A bit of dumb fun.
    So I am agreeing with you but I’m saying chill the fuck out guys. And stop making me weep in a skip. I’m not one of you practical filmmaking bullies!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.