Saturday, October 10, 2009


You don’t have to look far to realize I love zombies, heck, if you look at the definition of a zombie, that is someone who has died and come back to life, you might even say I am a follower of the original zombie, Jesus Christ. Of course some who say they follow Jesus, even some who don’t would have issue with that comparison but I think it appropriate.

Now this Halloween season we have the usual scary fare of movies that are coming out. Some deal with supernatural horror, some psychopathic people, some monsters and others other scary realities.

One of the original criticisms of horror I have heard in the past is that it is a “sin” to engage in fear. I think that is taken to the extreme, I find a ton of spiritual truths in horror, and have found the very people that say this are those who often engage in fear to convert others to their beliefs. Then again, there are those who have never engaged in an understanding of horror, especially zombies.

The zombie genera is one that makes social commentary. Sometimes that commentary is deeply rooted in the politics of the system, others, in the need to realize simple truths related to human need. Zombieland uses comedy to get its points across, but in such a fun, evil, delightful way that even the faint of heart will find they enjoy this movie. I expected to enjoy Zombieland, I didn’t know how much.

Zombieland follows four characters on their quest to discover what they hope is a last refuge of normality. There are of course rules and guidelines on how to stay alive and the methods used by filmmaker; director Ruben Fleischer is not only entertaining, but thought provoking. The use of comedy, amidst all of the gore to get the audience to the place where it actually thinks about their own individuality is quite refreshing, not just for a zombie movie, but a movie in general.

Zombieland is full of graphic gore, and over the top special effects. It is graphically so hard to watch that in my opinion is deserving of the ‘R’ rating. The direction, acting, and plot of the story though is deeper than what many would expect, and despite the graphic nature of the movie, it has something to say.

Each character is nicknamed after the city they are from, those include; Jesse Eisenberg who plays the pivotal role of Columbus, Woody Harrelson who is back at his wonderful high level as Tallahassee, Abigail Breslin as Little Rock and Emma Stone in the delightful role of Wichita. We see these characters develop throughout the movie to the place where in a world filled with the need to be self absorbed, they learn to see and appreciate the talents and skills of those living around them, in that is far more commentary than we may realize.

It seems as if Zombieland takes the theme of learning to see the good around us to a not so obvious place. We see that without the willingness to use individual talents and skills around us, to appreciate those around us, that in our own individuality we are certain for doom, and ultimately death. Zombieland takes us to the place where we can see the importance of conquering fears, whether the fear of having to trust someone, or the fears developed of things like clowns or lack of companionship. Whatever the fear, whatever the obstacle, it is in each other that we can find strength, and ultimately joy, even in the places we wouldn’t expect it.

I loved this movie. I plan on seeing it again, and taking my wife to see it with me this time. She normally who hates zombie movies. I think she will like this one though, I think she will laugh; I think she will have a good time, I think she will be surprised. There are tid bits about the movie that were rather special. I love Twinkies; in fact I am giving out Twinkies for the concerts I am playing this month as prizes for the answer of zombie trivia between songs. For those who have seen the movie, you will appreciate this. There is also a wonderful cameo moment in the movie that is quite funny, and I believe quite a tribute to the actor playing the part. We all need to laugh at ourselves, it is nice to know some A list actors are willing to do this, I only hope those of us in the seats, watching the movies are able to do that for ourselves.

If looking for a fun time at the movies this Halloween season, I doubt you will find a more fun, more appropriate movie than Zombieland. While it isn’t for those with a squeamish stomach, it is a movie you may find yourself enjoying more than you thought going in. In the age of high ticket prices and almost unaffordable concessions, you can justify the cost of the ticket but the unexpected good time you are going to experience. If you don’t laugh, if you don’t see the humor, learn the lessons, you may just need to check out to see if you are in fact a living human, or a living dead zombie.

On a scale of 1 – 10 for the 7 letters in Wichita (which is where I live) plus the one surprising cameo appearance, I give a very enjoyable 8.

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