ZZzzzzzz is for zombie

zombieland-poster“Zombieland” (2009)

dir. Ruben Fleischer

The Horror genre – like its cousins the american action film or the romantic comedy – has become something of a staple in Hollywood and as such has been codified. The zombie film sub-genre has seen a re-emergence in recent years and most incarnations feature a standard set of situations and themes which are all too familiar. While movies like “28 Days Later” have broken free of the standard formula, and “Shaun of the Dead” has satirized its often comical conventions, most films understandably attempt to capitalize on its popularity without really offering anything new. And so I present to you “Zombieland.”

While marketed to audiences as a “Shaun of the Dead”-type romp, “Zombieland” neither understands the genre well enough to be a parody, nor is it actually funny enough to be considered a comedy. The jokes are tired and broad. The timing is off. There is no actual story-line, more like a series of episodes strung together with no real purpose or direction; the result of hapless filmmaking or filmmaking by committee. I’m not sure which of the two. (Maybe both?)

The genre hybrid is a difficult thing to pull off and requires the filmmakers take some risks. The creators of “Zombieland” play it too safe, borrowing freely from the “road film” the “rom com” and a splatter of others, in addition to the aforementioned zombie sub-genre, without much imagination. The film is mildly amusing with a fair bit of violence thrown in. There is a lot of potential; a good cast of actors, all of whom seem up to the challenge with a budget to boot but sadly nothing ever comes of it.

The film’s dead on its feet. (A bad zombie film deserves a bad pun).

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