A thoroughly enjoyable romp through a zombie infested America. The movie is goofy, gory, and way better than it has any right to be.
Ten years ago, a movie called Zombieland came out satirizing the zombie genre. The film was on the cutting edge of the zombie craze. This film picks up ten years later. The landscape of zombie films has changed quite a bit, but this film doesn’t miss a beat. It is so unified with its predecessor that it feels like no time has passed at all, in the best way possible.
On its own the film works really well because of the characters and relationships on screen. A group of zombie survivors have come together to form an unlikely family unit. Tallahassee is a gun loving blowhard. Columbus is an overly cautious nebbish. Wichita is a guarded and cynical loner who cares for her sister. Little Rock is the baby of the family trying to find her own way. Each member has a distinct personality that plays well off the others. They travel the country together enjoying the little things life still has to offer. Things change when Little Rock runs off with a young hippie singer. The rest of the family have to track her down.
On the way, they encounter some fantastic characters. The highlight is Madison a ditzy, airhead, who has apparently survived the last ten years in an ice cream freezer because the zombies won’t go inside and there’s plenty of food that won’t spoil. It’s absurd, but it makes sense. This whole movie is filled with details like that. It is absurd, but it makes sense and works within this world.
The film has some great zombie action with lots of blood and brains. There is an extended scene in which Tallahassee and Columbus battle it out with two zombies in an Elvis museum. It is well choreographed and fantastically executed. It also uses its zombies well. The fight is not just a fight. It is has an added element of danger because if the zombie is able to bite them they’re gone. The whole thing adds tension and a sense of danger because these characters are people that we have grown to care about. The movie invests fully in these people, and that elevates the movie and heightens everything.
The film is also just very funny. There are dialogue exchanges that are hilarious. The dialogue has real wit and pop. There are visual jokes that are funny both for their inventiveness as well as for the splatter gore effect that will make you laugh and say, “ew!” The interplay between the humor and the drama is perfect. The laughs raise the tension in scenes of zombie danger. The danger makes the laughs land harder when they break the tension. It plays perfectly.
It’s a very fun movie. There is a lot of blood and guts, and some set ups that don’t pay off. But it is a lot of fun. It works well and is a great time at the movies this halloween.
This is my cup of tea. A-