Zombieland (2009)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin
Extras: Commentary Track, Deleted Scenes, Featurettes, movieIQ, Digital Copy, Trailers

I have to be honest with you, going into it, I had no high hopes for "Zombieland." The last few years of horror films have simply diminished what little expectations I had for the horror genre and seeing that "Zombieland" appeared to be an overtly gratuitous film, I clearly expected to be disappointed. The only reason I decided to actually watch the film was the fact that Woody Harrelson is in it, as I have always had a soft spot for him since the days of "Cheers." I am glad I did watch the movie because, to put it quite simply, "Zombieland" is off the hook!

In a world where zombies have eradicated the world population college student Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) thinks he is the last survivor. Living along pre-defined rules that have kept him alive up to this point, one day he runs into gun-toting Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a road warrior who knows no fear. They team up to make it across the country. Along the way they encounter hordes of zombies that stand between them and Tallahassee's desire for Twinkies. Getting along isn't all that easy for the two polar opposites and things get only worse when they run into a pair of sisters (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) who have managed to hone their survival skills even better than the two guys.

A horror comedy in the vein of "Shaun of the Dead," "Zombieland" lets no opportunity unused to mock the establish zombie cliches. For me one of the absolute highlights was the gourmet zombie sucking the bone marrow from one of his victims' femur. The scene had me rolling on the floor as did Bill Murray's hilarious appearance.

But despite its horror and excessive gore, the film also spends quite a bit of time on the characters and the interaction between them, letting the viewer forget at times that there is a looming threat around them that could kill them any second.

For me, the only real weakness of the film was its excessive use of gore. The zombies are so over the top that they are not at all scary any longer, constantly dripping blood, gore and some kind of a strange vomit. While very fast on their feet and incredibly strong, somehow these zombies simply didn't exude the same kind of menace as Romero's undead do or the crazies in "28 Days Later" for the matter. The grotesque monstrosities are simply staffage, in a sense, that don't do anything for the film other than maybe gross people out.

Coming in its 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio the high definition transfer on this disc is virtually flawless. Rendering an image that is incredibly detailed and sharp, you may wonder at times how you ever lived with standard definition. The colors pop in rich hues, giving the film the proper ambience and black levels are rock solid. Finely detailed textures and razor sharp edges that never appear unnatural, make this presentation a reference transfer that will please you every second of the way.

The audio on the release is also marvelous, presenting the film in DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio. This is a lossless reproduction of the film's original mix, of course, making sure the track is exactly as intended by the filmmakers. Aggressive and highly dynamic you will find this track to make solid use of the discrete surround channels and fill your living room with noises, growls and ricochets from all directions. Dialogues are well integrated and never drowned out by the music or the sound effects.

In terms of extras the release delivers also, featuring a commentary track with Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, as well as director Ruben Fleischer, as well as writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. This track is filled with exciting tidbits of info, showing nicely how the project developed and grew into what it turned out to be in the end. You will be surprised to hear how the concept was massaged over and over again until the final minutes.

There are also a few deleted scenes included that are fun to watch, as they add more of the unique character quirks. A series of featurettes gives you a look behind the scenes of the making of the film as they cover topics such as "In Search of Zombieland" "Zombieland is your land" and "Visual Effects Progressions."

To make use of Blu-Ray's capabilities, the release also includes a picture-in-picutre video commentary called "Beyond the Graveyard." Sony's movieIQ feature is also included while a Digital Copy on a separate disc rounds out the release.

"Zombieland" was a very pleasant surprise for me. I got a good number of really hard laughs out of it and overall, the film was silly and funny in a good kind of way. While it certainly doesn't break new territory, it is an enjoyable romp for fans of horror comedies with a bite.