I have a terrible confession: Even though I’ve written a zombie book, I really don’t like zombie movies. I’m actually a big ol’ weeny when it comes to gore. I can handle reading about it, more or less, but actually watching someone’s arm get ripped off and eaten is just too much for me. It’s why I haven’t been watching The Walking Dead: I saw the first episode, and got to that one zombie that was just a top torso with its spine swishing along behind it, and just noped right outta there (but was still interested, so I took to reading weekly recaps to follow the story. I’m such a nerd).
But having missed these zombie cultural touchpoints is just a character flaw, honestly, so I’m trying to repair it.
Starting with: Zombieland.
Premise: A few months after a zombie apocalypse, a young guy (Columbus) is just trying to survive, until he encounters a few other survivors: the wild and rough-edged Tallahassee, and the innocent-looking but cutthroat sisters Little Rock and Wichita. They team up to find family, a long-sought Twinkie, and the fleeting memories of childhood safety in what amounts to a zombie apocalypse roadtrip.
Zombie Characteristics: Virus is some variant of the mad cow disease, turning people into slavering, necrotic people-eaters within just a few hours of being bitten. They don’t mind pain and are pretty fast, as zombies go; these aren’t shufflers but joggers (keep up that cardio!). A blow to the head or a double-tap shot is the best way to kill them.
Apocalypse Level: Fairly low. Sure, lots of people are dead, but there are relatively few zombies (or people) in this movie at all. You’ve got to remember “the rules,” but no one is particularly worried about finding food to eat, having a place to sleep, siphoning gas, or having clean drinking water. All the electricity is on everywhere they go. You just have to keep an eye out for zombies.
Gore Level: Medium-low. This is hardly horror-movie fare. There were a few occasions that buckets of blood were called for, but it was pretty mild as zombie movies go. Not much worse than anything you’d see as roadkill.
Overall: Pretty funny and highly irreverent. I’m sorry I waited so long to see this one, particularly as the really clever “rules” technique interlaced through the film caught on as a pop culture reference. It was even a little heartwarming. Let’s just hope this is what a zombie apocalypse looks like; seems pretty safe. Just remember to work on that cardio in the meantime.
I give it 4 juicy brains!