‘Zombieland’: A different take

Rubin Baskir

Dear Cadenza,

I have a question I’d like addressed to Mr. Nick Hawco in response to his three-star review of “Zombieland”: “Do you want to see how hard I can punch?”

I wish I could take credit for that line. Unfortunately, it’s property of “Zombieland’s” script, along with a few dozen other gems you might hear creeping into the language in the next few months. These one-liner beauties are as fast and plentiful as the blood-splattered zombies that populate “Zombieland,” a movie whose rapid pace has left Mr. Hawco behind.

First, it is not “Shawn of the Dead,” because this is not Britain. It is “Zombieland,” and it is a pure, 100 percent American-made zomcom (the movie’s opening shot is the good ol’ stars and stripes). It introduces the setting and plot in a sprint, hooking us with characters defined by action and lots of it.

Mr. Hawco is right to call this a funny movie with zombies in it. Just like “Night of the Living Dead,” the patient zero of zombie movies, was a racial-commentary movie with zombies in it. And its sequel “Dawn of the Dead” was a consumer-culture-commentary movie with zombies in it. The zombies are the delicious chocolate coating in these movies but certainly not the gooey nougat center. Its center is a dysfunctional family (with Woody Harrelson playing the most kick-ass dad ever) because “Zombieland” is about a family road trip. The gift shop and the smoking session have nothing to do with zombies but everything to do with having good times with good friends. I loved this family so much that when they were in danger of becoming zombie food, I was that perfect measure of scared and excited you can only get from a great zombie flick.

Coming from a genre that only stops the constant regurgitation of glory days (“Prom Night,” “Stepfather,” “Sorority Row,” “My Bloody Valentine”) to release the last few corpse gases from its stable of dead, beaten horses (“Saw VI”, “Final Destination 4”), “Zombieland” is a muzzle flash in the darkness. In this movie, you will not see “swiveling cameras” or “jump cuts,” or shaky cam, or the ridiculous amounts of grain and green tint that have infected my beloved horror movies like so much tainted zombie blood in recent years. You will see what may be the best horror film of 2009. If you’re sick of Hollywood bull, go see “Zombieland.”

Zombieland = 5 out of 5 dismembered zombie heads

-Rubin Baskir

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