The gory comedy [movie id="407353"]“Zombieland”[/movie] is the type of flick that has no problem interrupting its story mid-attack to bring audiences news of the Zombie Kill of the Week: a gray-haired lady who drops a piano on the head of one of the millions of flesh-eating freakazoids roaming the post-apocalyptic Earth.
So is “Zombieland” going to be the Film of the Weekend? Starring [movieperson id="26961"]Woody Harrelson[/movieperson] as a gleeful zombie assassin, [movieperson id="275681"]Jesse Eisenberg[/movieperson] as a college kid in dire need of some anti-anxiety meds, and [movieperson id="459272"]Emma Stone[/movieperson] and [movieperson id="292904"]Abigail Breslin[/movieperson] as opportunistic grifters, the movie is generating oodles of positive buzz for its mix of laughs and frights. Here’s what the critics are saying:
“The movie dives with relish into the bloody splatter and crunch that make zombie flicks so much fun,” writes our own Kurt Loder . “These zombies aren’t just run-of-the-mill flesh-rippers — they crack bones and suck marrow. And along with being wasted by shotguns and clubbed to death-for-real by baseball bats, they’re also dispatched in some lively new ways — crushed flat by a falling piano, whammed like a golf ball by a big swinging amusement-park ride. The picture gets maximum bang for its effects-budget buck.”
The picture is also getting props for the “Odd Couple”-esque relationship between its male stars. “Woody Harrelson (it’s been far too long since we’ve seen him in anything good) plays a zombie killer with an array of interesting and useful weapons,” Kyle Smith of the New York Post says. “His mousy sidekick (Jesse Eisenberg, last seen in ‘Adventureland’) hopes to get a contact high from the excess testosterone. They make an excellent comedy duo — metal meets marshmallow.”
Harrelson and Eisenberg are screen vets, but the movie’s first-time director is getting just as much praise as his actors. Slate.com’s Josh Levin declares, “Ruben Fleischer goes for an aesthetic that’s no more complicated than ‘stuff that looks cool’: blood and guts and bile and tendons hitting the camera, glass breaking in slow motion, naked female zombies running in slow motion, and bad guys on fire (and in slow motion). Fleischer comes from the land of music videos, and he’s a good bet to follow the career arc of Zack Snyder: from the zombie leagues to surprise blockbusterdom to comic-book franchise.”
The zombie comedy against which all other zombie comedies must be judged is Simon Pegg’s “Shaun of the Dead,” and some critics are going so far as to suggest “Zombieland” tops that British cult classic with help from its screenwriters, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. “Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg set a high bar for this subgenre with ‘Shaun of the Dead,’ but Reese, Wernick and Fleischer may have trumped them,” contends “Zombieland.”
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