Next to mummies, zombies are the least frightening creatures in horror movies. The lone exception is Zack Snyder’s remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004) which itself was parodied in Edgar Wright’s SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004). That latter work’s farcical tone dominates this wickedly funny movie told from the point of view of a teenage loner (Jesse Eisenberg) fending for himself after America becomes overrun with flesh-eating mutants afflicted with really bad cases of Mad Cow disease. To give this movie its own unique stamp, the main character formulates his own rules for survival, which are displayed on-screen to achieve maximum comic effect. But since man doesn’t live by either bread or guidelines to survive zombie attacks alone, Eisenberg (ADVENTURELAND) eventually runs into a pair of sisters (Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone) and a redneck (Woody Harrelson) who relishes both killing zombies with artistry and Twinkies. The screenplay, by newcomers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, adheres to road film conventions where the primary characters meet unusual types on their journey. One such encounter is with a famous comic actor (Whom I won’t reveal.) that’s one of the funniest sequences I’ve ever seen involving a celebrity playing himself. As directed by rookie Ruben Fleischer, the movie never drags and even though it has its serious and suspenseful moments, the film never takes itself too seriously which gives it a certain perverse charm. This is that rare movie that I genuinely hope gets a sequel because every one of the main characters are not only interesting but even have more room for development and growth as they make their way across the titled landscape filling the undead with bullets while plying its audience with belly laughs.
EXCELLENT MOVIES STARRING WOODY HARRELSON: DOC HOLLYWOOD (1991), NATURAL BORN KILLERS (1994), THE PEOPLE vs. LARRY FLYNT (1996), KINGPIN (1996), WELCOME TO SARAJEVO (1997), WAG THE DOG (1997), THE PRIZE WINNER OF DEFIANCE, OHIO (2005), NORTH COUNTRY (2005), A SCANNER DARKLY (2006), A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION (2006), NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007)