Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Sunday, October 31, 2010
I didn't expect what I was about to see with this one. A zombie comedy 5 years after the the benchmark for this little sub-genre, Shaun of the Dead, doesn't have a chance of surpassing that great film. And it doesn't. This is a different monster altogether, just out to whip some ass and show the audience a great time. It succeeds on both fronts.
Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), the awkward college student with a list of rules for surviving in the current state of the planet, Zombieland, teams up with the Twinkee obsessed Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) to try to survive. Along the way they meet a couple of con-sisters, Witchita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who repeatedly outsmart the guys before eventually joining forces with them. The girls are on their way to an amusement park in California, and the guys, by survival instinct or hormonal urge, stick with them.
Less a zombie horror movie and more of an action/comedy with zombies, the film is beyond funny. It's friggin' hysterical. The scenes with the uptight Columbus and the ass-whipping Tallahassee are highly exceptional. Harrelson's portrayel of the ultimate zombie killer is something right out of a comic book, complete with one-liners and hero shots galore. He spends most of the film uttering machismo-laced cracks at Columbus, swinging baseball bats and hedge-clippers at zombies, spraying bullets from an uzi, or destroying cars and stores just to blow off some steam. The only time the movie slows down is when they try to connect Columbus and Witchita romantically, and even that isn't too bad. Thry still manage to throw some funny lines in, but it's definitely a drop-off from the tone of the rest of the film.
Jesse Eisenberg does a great Michael Cera acting job here, but I would say he even outdoes Cera. He's more believable during the romantic scenes, using the awkwardness to actually be quite charming instead of just pathetic. He has the majority of the heavy lifting in terms of acting and narrating the film, which he does very well. The girls garner a few cracks too, but they spend most of the time being smarter than the guys or picking on them. They're strong chicks, for sure.
I think this would be a great party film, like Evil Dead II. A bunch of less-than-sober people looking for a good time would eat this movie up. The enjoyment factor is through the roof.
Next: The Halloween Tree
I will guarantee one thing: gather up some friends, mix up a few cocktails, suspend your disbelief, and this will be the most fun you will EVER have watching a horror movie. This film is so amazingly insane you have no choice but to enjoy the hell out of it. It has gore, humor, more gore, and more humor. The pacing is so frantic and kinetic you won't have a moment to pause, it doesn't allow you to breathe.
For anyone who's seen the first Evil Dead you know the idea of the flick, as essentially this is a loose remake of that one. The first one was a low-budget, fairly ingenious horror-gore-fest shot by newcomer Sam Raimi. Well, the cult success of that begat a bigger budget for this. It uses many of the same concepts and techniques from the first one, but it adds a heavy dose of dark humor to lighten it up this time. Plus, the charismatic version of "Ash" we've come to expect from Bruce Campbell was born here. In the first one he's a scared, timid college kid who has no clue how to handle the crisis before him. When his girlfriend becomes a deadite in the original, he can't bring himself to chop her up to make sure she's dead, which he pays for later. Not so in this version. A chainsaw to her severed head pretty much seals the deal, without a shred of remorse.
Here's the deal: Ash and his girlfriend are heading to an old abandoned cabin in the mountains for the weekend. Once they get there, they are introduced to the evil living in the woods around the cabin pretty quickly. Within the first 10 minutes his girlfriend is dead and he's become a deadite. It's that fast, people. There's no story really other than that. We get to spend the remaining 1 hour 20 minutes enjoying the insanity that Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell cooked up, and they do not disappoint. I got a special kick out of the mounted deer head coming to life and cackling hysterically at Ash. That's the kind of insanity I'm talking about. It's like the evil is just fucking with him and tormenting him, and he just rolls with the punches.
There's nothing to describe really. I can't tell you how awesome it is, it really is an experience you just have to have for yourself. If you're open-minded, you're going to have an absolute blast with this.