2009 Running time: 87 Certificate: 15 Rating: 4

Synopsis

In this sharply-written, ultra-gory zombie-fest four survivors embark on a terrifying road trip across an America where the undead greedily rampage. Woody Harrelson's shotgun-totin' good ol' boy partners Jesse Eisenberg's virginal geek as they blast and bash their way through all-comers aided and abetted by Emma Stone's biker chick and her wised-up 12-year-old sister. Think Shaun of the Dead's glossier American cousin.

Director

  • Ruben Fleischer

Cast

  • Jesse Eisenberg

  • Woody Harrelson

  • Emma Stone

  • Abigail Breslin

  • Amber Heard

Review

The tried and tested splatter-fest of the zombie flick has ranged from the terrifyingly serious (Night of the Living Dead) to the comical throwaway (Return of the Living Dead Part II).

Director Ruben Fleischer's accomplished feature debut lands somewhere in the middle, efficiently served by a witty script and a special effects department happy to go for broke in the gore stakes (steaks?).

Jesse Eisenberg (the man they call when Michael Cera isn't available) plays a buttoned-up nerd who has managed to survive the zombie holocaust by virtue of a strict code - No17 - Don't Be A Hero, No11 - Despatch the un-dead with a "double tap."

Heading for home along a wreck-strewn freeway, he's picked up by Tallahassee (Harrelson), a straight-shootin badass who takes a sadistic delight in poppin' zombies when he's not hunting down the last Twinkie on Earth.

Further on down the road, they chance upon rock chick Emma Stone and her 12-year-old sister Little Rock (Breslin), who - after double crossing the pair - eventually decide to join forces as they head for the fabled zombie-free zone.

There's plenty of money on screen - totalled towns swarming with the un-dead and even LA's Hollywood Boulevard teeming with lunging cannibals - but it's the wrily self-mocking script that distinguishes this from any other horror outing.

There's also an all-too-brief cameo appearance from a Hollywood comedy legend and a nightmarish climax in an amusement park to keep the blood boiling in the most enjoyable zom-com for an age.

Tim Evans

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