Zombieland
 
            Is it possible to stage a horror comedy?  Well, yes, but you have to make sure the viewers know that you have tongue firmly planted in cheek, and we’re just here for the ironic fun of it, so that means crazed zombies shouldn’t really bother us that much, even with blood running out of their mouths like some kind of projectile vomiting.  Yes, it is possible to become inured to even the grossest depiction of human violence, as long as the zombies are all kind of nameless and faceless, and the only characters we care about somehow manage not to get the dreaded infection.
            Now here’s a strange kind of apocalypse:  all civilization has come to a screeching halt.  Rusted cars lie useless in the road.  Whole cities are deathly still.  The few humans who survive intact have done so because they don’t trust anybody, they’re willing to kill to defend themselves, and they’re all loners, which means they weren’t really dependent on other people, anyway.
            Mark Eisenberg plays the loner nerd and the narrator, who looks on it all with the kind of cool detachment of a biology student studying infected cockroaches.  He meets Woody Harrelson, playing the tough-guy cowboy dude, guns blazing and profanity flying and swaggering every step of the way, until they meet up with the only two women apparently “normal,” except they’re not.  They’re con artists.  We’re still looking for that heart of gold.  They seem to be looking only for the pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow.  Except there’s no rainbow to point the way.  In fact, there’s pretty much nothing to point the way to anything, and so they ramble aimlessly, desperate for any kind of purpose or destination, which is surely as much of a hell as living in Zombieland itself.
            And yet, if you’re in just the right frame of mind, there’s something irreverently funny about this movie.  It helps that it’s never all that serious, even when chomping hapless humans (think “Little Shop of Horror”).  The few people remaining have serious trust issues, and sort of underdeveloped social skills, so somehow we find them endearing, and begin to root for them, and yet it’s a strange set of heroes, indeed, that break into mansions and use good furniture for target practice (as if ammunition is in as unlimited supply as their cynical sarcasm). 
            The problem with this kind of movie is that they cut themselves out of most target audiences.  The chickie-flickies will stay away in droves:  too violent and crude.  There’s no real romance, nor are there any real redeeming qualities that the characters develop, which would eliminate all but the most adventurous moviegoer:  someone who doesn’t mind blood and gore, as long as there’s an earthy-humorous scatological commentary to accompany it? 
            Well, at least you’re forewarned.  The Christian’s version of The Apocalypse is hopefully, well, more hopeful.
 
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas