“Zombieland” is a fairly fun movie, but it also stretches this whole “being chased by a pack of zombies” thing to the point where I wonder if the genre has run dry. Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin were apparently the lucky winners of a drawing to be in this post-apocalyptic road-trip romp; sometimes acting is hard, but I gotta think this movie was easy to make (at least for the stars who don’t have to wear zombie makeup).
This is a wide-open premise. The world turns into Zombieland, and four people are still alive — and later a fifth, in an amusing cameo by … well, I’ll tell you if you want me to, but it’s one of the few great surprises in the movie, so I won’t spoil it here.
Because I liked the actors, I liked the movie well enough. But “Zombieland” is too thin to be a watch-it-every-Halloween classic. This should be an “Oh my god, did you see that!?” movie, and it’s not.
The tone is so light it could float away. And while it’s certainly not a horror movie, it’s not a witty comedy like “Shaun of the Dead.” There’s no irony, no metaphor, no observational humor.
They couldn’t have cast it much better, though; I’ll give them that. Eisenberg totally channels Michael Cera, Stone is becoming the star we knew she’d become, and Breslin is cute. Harrelson seems to be having the most fun as the good-for-nothing who finds out he’s good at something: killin’ zombies.
Considering that “Zombieland” is about killin’ zombies, there is less zombie carnage than I would’ve thought. The climactic sequence, where Harrelson mows down zombies in a theme park with a machine gun, is pretty cool. But for all the talk of “Zombie Kills of the Week,” the film doesn’t get too creative in that arena. (Inexcusably, at one point they have characters describing “Zombie Kills of the Week” rather than bothering to create those scenes.)
Although we don’t admit it out loud, we go into a movie like this wanting to be grossed out and shocked. “Zombieland” seems poised to deliver, but I was surprised to find it’s a bit tame. If you’re going to a movie with a pack of friends, you could do worse than “Zombieland,” but if you’re just looking for a bit of stimulation, read a good book instead.