Zombieland (2009) - Dread Central
Connect with us

Reviews

Zombieland (2009)

Published

on

ZombielandReviewed by Nomad

Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Amber Heard, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin

Directed by Ruben Fleischer


In our wide world of horror there has been no shortage of films about the terminally hungry undead. We’ve had tales of love and loss, comedies and those purporting to be, serious apocalyptic dramas, pseudo-political pieces and … whatever it is the Day of the Dead movies are. There is no end in sight so as Hollywood churns out their dead, it becomes less about original ideas and more about execution. Zombieland is most definitely not re-inventing the wheel, but I can say with no hesitation that it’s the funniest zombie tale since Shaun of the Dead.

Zombieland is the story of the broken survivors of an undead Armageddon. It is also the tale of a life not yet lived until everyone else has died. Lucky for us, very little time is spent on these deep, dramatic themes and emo sentimentality. In its place we get pure, unadulterated zombie killing bliss wrapped up in what can only be described as a parody of your basic coming of age teen comedy. Ohio (Eisenberg) is the prerequisite teen, so named for his desired destination. It’s Ohio who introduces us to the remnants of this decimated civilization, kicking things off with valuable tips to surviving any zombie encounter. Yes, those survival guide tips you are seeing in the commercials ARE in the movie. This proves an excellent way of showing glimpses of the world going to hell and includes one of the best title sequence montages since The Watchmen. I know I’m dishing out some seriously high praise, but it is well deserved. Trust me … or don’t. You know you are all going to see this yourselves anyway!

ZombielandOhio makes a beeline for his parent’s home when he runs into the mighty, mighty Tallahasse (Harrelson), who excels in zombie decimation while he scours the earth for his favorite snack cake. Destruction is his business, and to borrow a phrase from the Basterd Pitt, business is a’boomin! Soon the odd couple are joined by two more travelers (one of them being a hotty for Ohio), and the rest of the tale is elementary. Zombies attack and meet a squishy end, Ohio and his hotty flirt with love, hilarity ensues. As they make their way across the US, Tallahasse teaches the band that the world they knew is gone so it’s best to work out those frustrations any way possible, whether that be on abandoned cars, supermarkets, and of course, the cranium of a charging zombie. Some may still be staunch believers that fast zombies suck, but who cares? It’s not like we are getting prolonged chase scenes. When the Z boys come running, heads explode. What more do you need?

Comedic timing is near perfection in Zombieland, backing up the obvious fun of human-on-zombie violence with many a moment of gut busting hilarity. It can be as simple as an awkward or dorky conversation or as surprising as one particular scene in which the crew take refuge in a much unexpected location, providing the most insanely hysterical scene of the film. It’s one of those moments where people will say, “It was worth it just for that scene.” Woody Harrelson proves he’s still got the chops to leave us in stitches if he’s given the opportunity to shine while Jesse Eisenberg will most likely be described as “like that kid from Juno and Year One … only funny.” It’s boyish/geeky charm alongside the badass yet vulnerable killing machine who is just a bit dim. When the party is joined by home town bad girl Wichita and her sister Little Rock, we’ve got a dysfunctional family for the world’s end. You’ll love every second of it.

ZombielandSome films would be content to strike the perfect mix of comedy and above average zombie effects, but Zombieland adds another dimension with just the right amount of back story for each character. These scenes remind us of the tragedy of their situation, eliciting everything from a chuckle to an awww to a downright yank on your heart strings. The dramatic elements are never overly milked and strike just the right chords, complementing the scenes they piggyback like a snug-fitting puzzle piece.

It’s a joy to watch a film that seems to get everything right, has an audience howling with laughter to the point where you have to struggle to hear the lines that follow a gag, and STILL provides some extra gory eye candy for the horror fan who said, “You had me at Zombie.” The running undead look fantastic and are dispatched in a never-ending, ever-evolving innovative shopping list of carnage. You’ll applaud every crunch. Zombieland is a killer comedy with a vicious sense of humor. It’s the kind of movie where, halfway through, you’ll wish you already owned the DVD. Grab six horror-starved friends and meet me at the movies for opening night. It’s time we made a deserving film #1!

“>“>“>“>“>

5 out of 5

Discuss Zombieland in the Dread Central forums!

Planning to see Zombieland? Guarantee your seat before you go and avoid a sold-out show.
Buy your tickets at Fandango.com.



Continue Reading
Comments

Reviews

IAMX’s Alive in New Light Review – A Dark, Hypnotic, and Stunning Musical Endeavor

Published

on

Recording eight albums is an achievement no matter the artist, group, or band. This is especially true for Chris Corner’s IAMX, his solo project after the trip hop group Sneaker Pimps, which has enchanted listeners since 2004’s Kiss + Swallow with its dark electronic aesthetic. There’s something fascinating about the music Corner puts out as IAMX. Perhaps it’s the underlying melancholy that seems to pervade the music, almost certainly a result of the musician’s battle with depression and chronic insomnia [Source]. Perhaps it’s the unexpected melodies that reveal themselves with each new measure. Whatever it is, IAMX’s music is a constant delight.

On Alive in New Light, Corner reveals that his eighth album was a product he created as a way of “…breaking free from demons that have long plagued him,” per an official press release. Strangely enough, this uplifting attitude may easily be overlooked but repeat listens unveil a sense of hope and wonder that are simply breathtaking. The title track echoes with almost angelic choir pads that positively shine as Corner exultingly cries in a shimmering falsetto, “I’m alive in new light!” This comes after the Depeche Mode-esque “Stardust”, which offers the first collaboration with Kat Von D, whose pure voice is a beautiful addition to the pulsating track.

The third track, “Break The Chains”, has an opening that immediately called to mind Birds of Tokyo’s “Discoloured”, which is meant as a compliment. It’s followed by the Nine Inch Nails influenced “Body Politics”, which meshes Corner’s crooning vocals with a 90’s industrial backdrop. “Exit” has an almost sinister progression lurking in the background that builds to an aggressive, in-your-face third act. The cinematic Middle Eastern flairs of “Stalker” mutate effortlessly into a heartbeat pulse that features back-and-forth vocals between Corner and Von D. The haunted circus vibe that permeates through “Big Man” is mirrored by its playful gothic aura, ghostly “oohs” and “aahs” sprinkled carefully here and there.

While the album has been a delight up to this point, it’s the final two tracks that took my breath away and left me stunned. “Mile Deep Hollow” builds layer after layer while Corner passionately cries out, “So thank you/you need to know/that you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow/and I love you/you brought me home/because you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow.” The way the song’s melodies back these wonderfully uplifting lyrics feels grand and epic, as though a journey is coming to an end, which is where “The Power and the Glory” comes in. Far more subdued, it’s a beautiful song that feels almost like a religious experience, a hymn of a soul that is desperate to claw its way to salvation and escape a life of pain and darkness.

What makes Alive in New Light so wonderful is how much there is to experience. I got the album and listened to it no less than five times in a row without pause. I simply couldn’t turn it off because each return revealed something new in the music. Corner also makes fantastic use of Von D’s vocals, carefully placing them so as to make them a treat and not a commonplace certainty.

While some may be disappointed that there are only nine tracks, each of the songs is carefully and meticulously crafted to be as powerful and meaningful as possible. It really is a stunning accomplishment and I’m nothing short of blown away by how masterfully Alive in New Light plays out.

  • Alive in New Light
5.0

Summary

IAMX’s Alive in New Light is a triumph of music. Full of beauty and confidence, it doesn’t forget the foundation that fans have come to know and love for over a decade but instead embraces that comfortable darkness with open arms. Corner states that this album was a way to break free from his demons. It certainly feels like he’s made peace with them.

Sending
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
Continue Reading

Reviews

The Hatred Review – A History Lesson Dug Up From The Depths Of Hell

Published

on

Starring Zelda Adams, Lulu Adams, John Law

Directed by John Law


I don’t know about the scholastic interests the masses had (or have) that read all of the killer nuggets that get cranked out on this site, but when I was an academic turd, one of my true passions was history, and it was one of the only subjects that managed to hold my interest, and when the opportunity arose to check out John Law’s ultra-nightmarish feature, The Hatred – I was ready to crack the books once again.

The setting is the Blackfoot Territory in the late 1800s, and the pains of a lengthy conflict have taken their toll on the remaining soldiers as food has become scarce, and the film picks up with soldiers on the march in the brutal cold and snow covered mountainside. In tow is a P.O.W. (Law), and the decision is made by the soldiers to execute him in earnest instead of having to shorten their rations by feeding him, so he is then hung (pretty harshly done), and left to rot as the uniformed men trudge along. A short time later the group encounters a small family on the fringes of the territory, and when the demands for food are rebuked, the slaughter is on and the only survivor is a young girl (Adams) who prays to an oblivious god that she can one day reap the seeds of revenge upon those who’ve murdered her family. We all know that there are usually two sides to any story, and when the good ear isn’t listening, the evil one turns its direction towards those who need it most, and that’s when the Devil obliges.

The answer to the young girl’s prayers comes in the resurrection of the prisoner that was hung a short time ago, and he has been dubbed “Vengeance” – together their goal will be achieved by harshly dishing out some retribution, and the way it’s presented is drawn-out, almost like you’re strapped into the front-row pew of a hellfire-cathedral and force-fed the sermon of an evil voice from the South side of the tracks. It’s vicious and beautiful all at once, Law’s direction gives this visually-striking presentation all the bells and whistles to please even the harshest of critics (hell, you’re reading the words of one right now). The performances, while a bit stoic in nature, still convey that overall perception of a wrong that demands to be righted, no matter how morally mishandled it might be. Overall, I can absolutely recommend The Hatred for not only those wanting a period-piece with ferocious-artistry, but for others who continue to pray with no response, and are curious to see what the other side can offer.

  • Film
3.5

Summary

The Hatred is a visually-appealing look into the eyes of animus, and all of the beauty of returning the harm to those who have awarded it to others.

Sending
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
Continue Reading

Reviews

Before We Vanish Review – A Quirky and Original Take on Alien Invasions

Published

on

Starring Masami Nagasawa, Ryûhei Matsuda, Hiroki Hasegawa

Written by Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa


During the J-horror rampage of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Kairo (aka Pulse). A dark, depressing, and morose tale of ghosts that use the internet to spread across the world, the film’s almost suffocatingly gloomy atmosphere pervaded across every frame of the film. Because of my love of this film, I was eager to see the director’s upcoming movie Sanpo Suru Shinryakusha (aka Before We Vanish), which follows three aliens who recently arrived on Earth and are preparing to bring about an alien invasion that will wipe humanity from the face of the planet. Imagine my surprise when the film turned out to be barely a horror title but was instead a quirky and surreal dramedy that tugged at my heartstrings.

Admittedly, I was thrown completely for a loop as the film begins with a scene that feels perfectly at home in a horror film. Akira (Tsunematsu), a teenage girl, goes home and we enter moments later to blood splashed on the walls and floor and bodies strewn about. However, the disturbing visuals are spun around as the young girl walks down a highway, her clothes and face streaked with blood, Yusuke Hayashi’s music taking on a lighthearted, almost jaunty attitude. From there, we learn of the other two aliens (yes, she’s an alien and it’s not a secret or a twist, so no spoilers there): Amano (Takasugi), who is a young man that convinces a sleazy reporter, Sakurai (Hasegawa), of his true form and tasks Sakurai with being his guide, and Shinji (Matsuda), the estranged husband of Narumi (Nagasawa).

What sets these aliens, and their mission, apart from other invasion thrillers is their means of gathering information. They’re not interested in meeting leaders nor do they capture people for nefarious experimentations. Rather, they steal “concepts” from the minds of people, such as “family”, “possession”, or “pest”. Once these concepts are taken, the victim no longer has that value in their mind, freed from its constraints.

While this may seem like a form of brainwashing, Kurosawa instead plays with the idea that maybe knowing too much is what holds us back from true happiness. A man obsessed with staking claim to his family home learns to see the world outside of its walls when “possession” is no longer a part of his life. A touchy boss enters a state of child-like glee after “work” has been taken. That being said, there are other victims who are left as little more than husks.

Overly long at 130 minutes, the film does take its time showing the differences between the aliens and their individual behaviors. Amano and Akira are casually ruthless, willing to do whatever it takes to send a beacon to begin the alien invasion, no matter how many must die along the way, while Shinji is the curious and almost open-minded one, whose personal journey finds him at one point asking a priest to envision and describe “love”, a concept that is so individualistic and personal that it can’t be taken, much less fathomed, by this alien being. While many of these scenes are necessary, they could have easily been edited down to shave 10-15 minutes, making the film flow a bit more smoothly.

While the film begins on a dark note, there is a scene in the third act that is so pure and moving that tears immediately filled my eyes and I choked up a little. It’s a moment of both sacrifice and understanding, one that brings a recurring thread in the story full circle.

With every passing minute, Before We Vanish makes it clear that it’s much more horror-adjacent than horror. An alien invasion thriller with ultimate stakes, it will certainly have appeal to genre fans. That being said, those who go in expecting action, violence, and terror will certainly be disappointed. But those whose mind is a bit more open to a wider range of possibilities will find a delightful story that attempts to find out what it means to be human, even if we have to learn the lesson from an alien.

  • Before We Vanish
4.0

Summary

Before We Vanish is a beautiful, wonderful tale that explores what it means to be human when faced with the threat of extinction.

Continue Reading

Recent Comments

Advertisement

Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

* indicates required

Go Ad Free!

Support Dread Central on Patreon!

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC