Zombieland wakes the dead

In a post-zombielyptic world, who better to have taking names and kicking ass than a Twinkie-loving man, a neurotic-to-the-core college student, a rebellious young woman, and her pre-teen sister? Anyone, you say? Well, probably, but they definitely wouldn’t be as entertaining.

Zombieland is a hilarious film that stars three of the best young actors of the last few years, along with one grizzled movie veteran, creating a surprising combination that works well together. Leading man Jesse Eisenberg has received rave reviews for his roles as a neurotic and hopelessly awkward young adult in more than a few movies now. He both stars and narrates as the character Columbus and explains that he has survived because he follows a strict set of rules since the beginning of zombie-time-all-the-time on Earth. His rules include cardio, beware of bathrooms, don’t be a hero, and check the back seat, all of which are hilariously displayed during the film.

Woody Harrelson, who admitted to initially being hesitant to join a zombie film with a first-time director (Ruben Fleischer), plays Tallahassee, the grizzled zombie killer who has made it his life goal to find the last remaining Twinkies on the planet. Harrelson is hick-tastically hilarious and unabashedly honest to anyone and everyone. He’s the perfect fit for his role.

Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin round out the cast as Wichita and Little Rock, sisters who act as con artists to help them survive in the world they’ve found themselves in. While it is clearly Eisenberg and Harrelson who steal the show, these two provide some great moments and act as strong characters in a film that hands out (non-zombie) speaking lines to very few people. Each actor has his or her fair share of witty one-liners and laughable moments. Not one of them burdens the others by dragging their feet — a solid quality for any film.

Our four heroes and heroines, named according to their intended destinations, travel across our great — well, not anymore — nation in search of various things. For Columbus, it’s his parents; Tallahassee can’t get enough of those Twinkies; and Wichita and Little Rock just want to be kids again at an amusement park. Along the way, we learn more about each character’s past and how they got to where they are today. In addition, some wonderful antics ensue at gas stations, supermarkets, and mansions, where our lovable cast kills zombies, acts inappropriately, and — fingers crossed — finds love, all in a nicely wrapped-up hour and a half.

Zombieland opened across the United States on Oct. 2, garnering $25 million in its opening weekend, and has not

lost any steam since — getting many people talking about its potential. The horror-comedy has even impressed critics, who are usually tough on zombie flicks. But it is clear that this one is different. Cary Darling of the Dallas Morning News perhaps summed it up best: “When it comes to genre filmmaking, Zombieland, a grisly comedy about yet another attack of the ravenous undead, does just about everything right,” she said.

And she is right. Not once did this film feel forced, nor did it ever slow down. It was consistently suspenseful, hilarious, stupid (in a very good way), or surprising (also in a good way). The phrase, “Never a dull moment,” definitely applies. Zombieland was good because it borrowed just a little bit from all the best zombie flicks of the last 25 years and still retained a great sense of originality in its structure, characters, and storyline. Go see it for the following reasons: It is one of the best movie experiences you could hope to get nowadays; it has the absurdly entertaining “zombie kills of the week”; it shows four people bonding over the virtual ending of human life on Earth (how can that not be hilarious); and, above all else, it is a solid comedy film. Oh, and did I mention it has a surprise and absolutely hilarious cameo from one of the best comedic actors of all time? Yeah, go see it for that too.