Cage Match: Zombieland v. ?

Ripping Through the City Streets of Tokyo
Image by Stuck in Customs via Flickr

It has been a long time since the last cage match.  So much so that I am unsure how to resuscitate the theme.  The main reason is the complete dearth of fiction in my life lately.  Few movies.  Few books.  Not for a lack of trying though.  Work, friends and my body are all conspiring against me to not actually complete anything.  I wish I knew what the problem was, but my attention span is almost nonexistent these days.  Failing to complete a project then makes it harder to complete another one.  I have tried to kick up my readings about neuro-science, but again the lack of attention.

Anywho.  I saw Zombieland (direced by Ruben Fleischer) last week when I should have been working on some arguments for my teams.  This cage match is more of an introduction.  Out of the tunnel comes Zombieland.  The next Cage Match will then resume against ?.

Overall, I enjoyed it.  It was a fun take on the genre.  There were moments where I laughed out loud (Bill Murray‘s cameo) and there were genuine moments of fright like the best of the horror films.  What I enjoyed most about the movie was that it was not pure entertainment.  Fleischer understands the genre inside and out and took many opportunities to play off the genre and explain it to us.  The best contribution of this film, however, was the presentation of a psychoanalytic analysis of the zombie genre.  The characters reveal the anxieties for which the zombie is a metaphor.  It was a well done reading of a zombie film presented as a telling.

The movie began to drag at the end, as every critical impersonation inevitably does.  Two of the main characters turn stupid.  And it just so happens that the two are women.  If ever there was a trope to be broken that would seem to be it.  I was always impressed with how westerns dealt with the genre post-Unforgiven (dir. Clint Eastwood), but it seems that horror has failed to adequately deal with their genre post-Scream (dir. Wes Craven).  Zombieland might be a horror film that reflects this sensitivity, but I suspect instead that it serves best as a comedy standing outside of the genre.  It is not scary enough to satisfy people looking for a fright.

I paid a matinee price for it and was pleased for the return on my money.  I might not feel the same way if I had paid the full fare and had to deal with a full crowd of obnoxious teenagers.  That hesitation to share the movie probably means the movie is not a horror (more about my theory of audience interaction and horror later.)

Go see it.

Oh yeah.  They’re remaking A Nightmare on Elm Street.  Why?  That seems to be the biggest horror in this story.

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