As I've said previous reviews of recent zombie flicks, zombies are the new vampires. Vampires are all cultured and literate, which could explain why so many recent outings have been taking place in schools. Zombies, on the other hand are both undead and braindead, but they seem to do a much better job of shuffling over into other genres especially comedy. The daddy of all zom-coms is still SHAUN OF THE DEAD, and there have been some entertaining efforts to expand the canon, such as low-budget WASTING AWAY, which showed at SFL7 (and available now on iTunes). Now there's a new zom-com in town that is the US answer to SHAUN. It's set in North America, not London, and has big cars, big guns, big movie stars and, thankfully, big laughs.
Jesse Eissenberg is reprising his recent ADVENTURELAND role as the nice but nerdy guy who doesn't have a lot of life experience, mainly because he spends most of it alone in his apartment, which saves him when the zombie plague hits. Left to his own devices, and a set of self-imposed rules, he sets off to find somewhere zombie free. On the way he meets and joins up with Woody Harrelson's gun-toting, Twinkie-craving bad-ass, who is definitely channelling his Mickey Knox character. This unlikely pair set off across the US dispensing of the undead in imaginative ways, until they meet up with two wily sisters (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) and trouble ensues as they head off to LA.
The humour is a mixture of splatstick and pop culture references (America's only culture it seems), with a fantastic cameo from a Hollywood legend. There is even a little rom added to the zom com as the motivation for the movie's big finale, which shows that maybe the sisters weren't as smart as they thought they were. I know it's all a bit vague and cryptic, but I don't want to give away any spoilers that will detract from the surprises and laughs, of which there are plenty.
SHAUN OF THE DEAD may have set the benchmark for zom-coms, but ZOMBIELAND certainly rises to the challenge.
ZOMBIELAND is in cinemas from October 7 through Sony Pictures.