Zombieland (2009)

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Bill Murray

Directed by: Ruben Fleischer

Rating: 1 2 3 4 and a half

Jesse Eisenberg and undead friend in Zombieland

The world as we know it is no more. A terrible plague has swept the planet, reducing all who catch it to slavering, flesh eating zombies. Abandoned cars litter desolate streets lined with burnt out, ransacked shops and homes. Welcome to Zombieland.

Yada yada yada. Um, haven't we seen this all before, but perhaps without quite such a visceral emphasis on spurting black blood and the Metallica soundtrack? Well, yes, we have, but don't let that put you off, because there's a lot more to this slick sucker than first meets the eye.

Woody Harrelson as Tallahassee in ZombielandFirst up, there's our hero, a self-confessed phobic geek (played by Simon Amstell lookalike Jesse Eisenberg) who's managed to survive the carnage by sticking to some simple yet effective rules: beware bathrooms, double tap, check the backseat and (my favourite) wear a seatbelt. Then there's a terrific performance from the ever-reliable Woody Harrelson, as a redneck, NRA-card-carrying roadhog who's found his vocation in slaughtering the undead.

Throw in two pleasingly wily female characters, self-reliant sister con artists (Emma Stone and Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin, and you have a nice clutch of surprisingly rounded characters who are actually given a chance to grow as the action unfolds.

Oh, and then there's the splendid cameo from Bill Murray, mercilessly sending himself up as usual, and the final theme park shootout, in which our motley band face a ghoulish, skull-splattering, zombie Rourke's Drift that manages to be both adrenalin-shot exciting and strangely moving .

I was starting to feel that I'd had my fill of z-movies, but this blood-soaked, horror-slash-road movie rom-zom-com is definitely the most entertaining slice of undead action to hit the screens since Shaun of the Dead. Be warned, however: the ick factor is high for a 15-rated film, so if, like poor Ian, Shaun is as gory as you get, I wouldn't recommend it. But if, like me, you like your romances soaked in the red stuff, and well, not terribly romantic really, this is the date movie for you.

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