Reel Life: Zombieland

So there I was, browsing the Internet, looking for some interesting movies premiering this month. And as it’s supposed to be the most joyful month of the year, I had to ask: Zombieland – really? Is that supposed to be the kind of fun we’d normally enjoy during the glorious time of Christmas?

But there is some good news in store for you, dear readers. First of all, Zombieland is actually a solid piece of funny and well-produced entertainment, that builds its rather light setup and plot on an impressive mount of zombie-themed movies – and not without a hint of subversion. The theme itself seems so standardised, that neither the movie not its main protagonist/narrator bothers spending much time on an introduction, simply assuming that 1.We all know the somehow generic premise, and 2. It’s actually not that important after all. For all of you out there who have missed out the classic examples of undead-related cinema, let me briefly narrow down what exactly you need to know.

Zombies possess quite straightforward personalities (suffice it to say, not great material for a significant other) who either died and were brought back to life (Night of the Living Dead), or became undead as a result of being exposed to a certain chemical formula or virus (Resident Evil). Their favourite food is the flesh of the living, particularly brains. The only known method to destroy a zombie is to send a bullet (or any other spiked object) through its head, or to incinerate the creature completely. Finally, (probably the most entertaining thing, resulting in some glorious trigger happiness on screen), getting bitten by a zombie equals turning into one in a matter of hours (Night of the Living Dead) or even seconds (28 Days Later).

Some classic examples of horror/slasher movies such as Return of the Living Dead used zombies not only for pure entertainment, but also as a form of social criticism (zombies in the shopping mall looked suspiciously similar to regular shoppers). While Zombieland lacks deeper meanings and in general remains a watch-and-forget film, it definitely delivers a few memorable moments, showing a world gone mad, filled with rather unusual protagonists (including a great, yet slightly underplayed, cameo from Bill Murray).

What we do get is a sleek Tarantino-esque type of pastiche, yet somehow not as awe-inspiring and memorable as delivered by Mr. Genius himself. Finally, one might get a feeling that Zombieland somehow tries a bit too hard to earn the status of “cult movie”, while not paying enough attention at making its settings less generic. Still, I must admit I was pretty entertained and do not regret watching Zombieland. Besides, there has never been a better example of product placement than Zombieland‘s feature of Hostess Twinkies!

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