In Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s post-apocalyptic horror comedy, more zombie heads explode than f-bombs, but this well-paced and well-choreographed gorefest is family-fun for tweens and teens despite its R-rating. Currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video, you’ll want to view or review before you see its sequel, “Zombieland: Double Tap.”
When the movie starts, we are already “the United States of Zombieland.” A mutation in the mad cow disease (That’s bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE for those who want to be scientific.) as become mad zombie disease. The movie only deals with the survival in North America. With survival unlikely, strangers don’t go by names but by the name of their hometowns.
Told in voiceover by Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), we learn that being a lonely geek had its benefits. Studying in Austin, Texas, Columbus has his first encounter with a zombie when the sexy girl in 406, comes knocking. She’s frightened, but soon turns frightening. Columbus leaves Texas to return home to see if his parents survived. He credits his survival to his rules.
Number one is based on observation. Columbus notes “the first ones to go for obvious reasons were the fatties.” Rule number one is: Cardio. Rule number two is double tap. Make sure that zombie is dead. Don’t be economical with the bullets. Rule number three is: Beware of bathrooms. Yes. Imagine being attacked while taking a dump. Rule number four is seatbelts.
Columbus meets up with loaner and redneck Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) which is rule number eight: Get a kickass partner. Together, Columbus and Tallahassee meet up with Little Rock (Abigail Breslin who turned 13 at the time of the filming) and her older sister Wichita (Emma Stone). Before the zombie apocalypse, the two sister worked a con and now have a different one, getting the upper hand on Tallahassee and Columbus not once, but twice. The quartet end up heading for Hollywood and meet up with a zombie Bill Murray.
This will have a happy ending of sorts, but you already know that because this is 2019 and there’s a sequel out. Be sure to stay for the end credits.