By Josh Dolmage
Staff reporter

Zombieland was a thrill ride from start to finish. This action-packed and hilarious comedy, written by Rhett Reese and directed by first-time filmmaker Reuben Fleischer, stars four main characters: Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). A cameo by Bill Murray only sweetens the pot.  Zombieland had me laughing and completely intrigued for 82 straight minutes.

The movie starts off with action as Columbus is fending off zombies before the opening credits are even through. He has his own set of “rules” for fighting the zombies.  Since there are 33 rules, I will name a few of my favorites:

Rule #1 – Cardio: Simply out run the slowest person in your group and you’ll be fine.

Rule #2 – Beware of bathrooms: zombies like to strike when you are vulnerable. Therefore, hold it.

Rule #3 – Double tap: Shooting a “dead” zombie in the head assures that they are, in fact, dead.

Rule #4- (Don’t) be a hero: Trying to impress someone may leave you as zombie food.

The story of Zombieland starts with Columbus trying to get to Columbus, Ohio to try and start a better life with his family. While on his journey, Columbus comes across an avid zombie killer named Tallahassee.  After a brief standoff, Tallahassee and Columbus decide to travel together. This is the part where Columbus earns his nickname, Columbus. Tallahassee feels that instead of using names, they should use the city that they are from as their name. There is no reason behind Tallahassee’s thinking, but nonetheless, Columbus agrees.

Tallahassee’s journey is a quest to locate a Hostess Twinkie.  Enjoying a moist, crème-filled Twinkie will help Tallahassee to die a happy man. Throughout the movie, Tallahassee becomes more and more intriguing.

While in search for a Twinkie, Columbus and Tallahassee come across two sisters, Wichita and Little Rock. Wichita and Little Rock are heading to Pacific Playland, an amusement park that is rumored to be zombie-free. The sisters turn out to be con artists who proceed to take advantage of Tallahassee and Columbus over and over.  They have one rule: don’t trust anybody.

Despite the sisters tricking Tallahassee and Columbus over and over, they decide to embark on the journey to Pacific Playland with the sisters.  On the trip, the four of them stay in Bill Murray’s mansion.  When Murray acts like a zombie, complete with makeup and all, Columbus shoots and kills him. Thus, ending his short cameo in the movie.

While at Murray’s mansion, Columbus realizes that he has never had true love in his life.  He has always dreamed of brushing a girl’s hair behind her ear.  Columbus falls in love with Wichita at the mansion and the two nearly share a kiss.  Tallahassee walks in and distracts the moment.

After stealing the vehicle from Tallahassee and Columbus, Wichita realizes that she almost broke her and Little Rock’s only rule.  She decides that she needs to concentrate more on getting to Pacific Playland than forming a romance with Columbus.

Once the sisters make it to Pacific Playland, they find that the rumors were true.  There are no zombies in the amusement park, until they turn on all the lights.  The lights instantly attract hundreds of zombies to the park.

Back at the mansion, Tallahassee tries to convince Columbus to give up on Wichita.  Columbus feels that he can convince Wichita to love him back.  Tallahassee says he will not go to Pacific Playland because he is on a mission to find a Twinkie.  Refusing to give up on love, Columbus steals Murray’s electric scooter to go to Pacific Playland on his own.  When Columbus wrecks the scooter after riding only about 10 feet, Tallahassee decides to offer him a ride.

When the guys make it to Pacific Playland, the zombies are there to greet them.  This is when the ultimate zombie showdown begins.  This is also where Columbus decides to break rule #4 and be a hero to impress Wichita.  Blood and guts fly everywhere as Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock mow down zombie after zombie.

The cast of this movie was perfect. Woody Harrelson was brilliant. Killing zombies and searching for Twinkies is a role that is made for Harrelson.  Jesse Eisenberg is the type of “nerdy” hero that this movie needed. As for Wichita and Little Rock, the parts seemed as if they were made for Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin. Stone was definitely a sight to look at even before all the nasty, mutilated zombies came into the picture.

I recommend this movie to anyone looking for a great October movie.  With Halloween approaching, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with zombies, blood, and guts.  It is rated R for language and violence, but I still give it two thumbs up.

Josh Dolmage is a junior majoring in convergent journalism.  You may e-mail him at josh.dolmage@sckans.edu