America is ravaged by zombies. The lone survivors fight their way across the country to get to an amusement park that they heard was a zombie free zone. This could easily have turned into just another Night of the Living Dead carbon copy, but in the hands of writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and director Ruben Fleischer it has become a post-apocalyptic zombie comedy that is soon to be a cult hit.
A tainted sandwich starts the virus that turns everyone into the undead. The sickness spreads pretty quickly, wiping out the world as we know it in a couple of weeks. In Garland, TX (big cheers from the Dallas audience), a young man played by Jesse Eisenberg (sounding like Michael Cera) has created rules to live by when dealing with zombies. The first rule is Cardio. You have to be able to outrun these particularly robust creatures. These are not the typical foot draggers. They are very aggressive and there’s lots of bloody cannibal scenes, so be warned. Second rule is “Beware of Bathrooms”. Think about it. Third rule is seatbelts and rule four is double tap. That is, shoot twice to make sure it’s dead. He’s got several rules that he makes up as he goes along, trying to keep one step ahead. He hits the road to go home to Ohio to see if any of his family made it through the carnage. He’s not really close to his relatives, but he’s got nothing else to do. On the road, he hitches a ride with another survivor who is headed to Florida. The new guy (Woody Harrelson) says he doesn’t want to know the kid’s real name because it’s not good to get too close to anyone during these troubling times. So he names him Columbus for the town he’s from and to call him Tallahassee. These two are about as opposite as people could be. While Columbus is a bit of a wuss, Tallahassee is hard core about killing zombies and enjoys it. They meet sisters, Wichita and Little Rock (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin), who steal their car to head to a California amusement park where they think their troubles will end.
While all this sounds pretty straight forward, it’s the execution of these adventures that is a laugh-out-loud riot. Jesse’s Columbus narrates the movie with a laid back off-handed exposition of his rules and of the events happening. Woody’s Tallahassee is full of macho swagger, quick on the draw and handy with pruning shears. Emma and Abigail are perfectly cast as sister con artists that cause trouble and are both good with guns. The guys even have a running joke of the best zombie kill EVER. All of this is punctuated by a kicking soundtrack with Metallica, Blue Oyster Cult, Lou Reed, and Van Halen. The final battle at the amusement park is pretty exciting with tons of attacking zombies. Think Six Flags with a mindless man-eating crowd. This may be considered the American version of Shaun of the Dead. But this has zombies, guns, mayhem, rides, clowns, and a cool cameo by Bill Murray. (Review by Reesa Cruz-Hawkins)
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