Wednesday, October 07, 2009


So, every once in a while, I watch a move, read a book, play a game, or shoot a film that makes me very, very happy.

Zombieland did that to me tonight.

In the game space, we talk about "Triple-A" games, where the sum total of the experience is stellar, even if there are minor miss-steps in some of components (graphics, gameplay, design, hook, basics, etc.). And a really amazing AAA game wouldn't have any miss-steps.

Zombieland is amazing triple-A.

I don't want to spoil the movie, but there are zombies. Lots of them. Filling the land. Creating a zombie land.

And the various trailers do a good job of showing the film for what it is -- a survival horror comedy film.

But not flick, which is why I'm glad it falls outside of the summer throwaway popcorn diversions, but before the slasher shocktaculars of this Halloween.

And not the stuff underneath that multi-genre classification.

Firing on all cylinders, Zombieland is fun, funny, horrific, heartfelt, and polished -- not an easy combo, by any stretch -- and it doesn't fall into the tropes that horror films can fall into (cartoonish titillation, overly cheap startles, etc.).

From the overall gimmick to the VO narrative to the text special effects, the movie's a treat.

The one thing that I thought was a miss-step -- overdone gruesomeness in the first act of the film -- is actually a factor of production and narrative. First, gory, detailed effects are expensive -- use them early to get the affect you want, then cheat them later. Second (and more importantly), even though this is a comedy survival horror film, it's a survival horror film. The audience needs to get that this situation is bad, and not "pristine - get - shot - by - stormtroopers - with - lasers" bad. It's messy, gory, scary bad. Done and done.

OK. No more. See the film. If you're of age. And not overly squeamish.