Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Zombieland - Why the rules are good

Yes, I know I just wrote about a horror film last week but it's almost Halloween. One more and then I promise to go back to family films. Zombieland is a horror/comedy (horrordy? comedorror?). Anyone who thinks that blending horror and comedy is a new concept hasn't seen Arachnophobia. And if you think zombie horror comedy is new then you haven't seen Shawn of the Dead. Both of those are worth a look and a laugh by the way.
Anyway, here's what Columbia Pictures writes about Zombieland - "The horror comedy Zombieland focuses on two men who have found a way to survive a world overrun by zombies. Columbus is a big wuss -- but when you're afraid of being eaten by zombies, fear can keep you alive. Tallahassee is an AK-toting, zombie-slaying' bad ass whose single determination is to get the last Twinkie on earth. As they join forces with Wichita and Little Rock, who have also found unique ways to survive the zombie mayhem, they will have to determine which is worse: relying on each other or succumbing to the zombies."
Before I say anything, I have to admit two things: I'm not a big fan of Woody Harrelson and I am a big fan of this little sub-genre of horror/comedy. That being said, this film was a pleasant surprise for me. Like any good zombie film there are many many creative scenes of zombies being put to their final rest, lots of splatter and quite a bit of gore too. But there is also a good story here about four people, maybe the last four non-zombies on earth, trying to survive the flesh eating menace and their mistrust of one another. If you like your comedies gory or your horrors funny, this is the film for you.
Theologically there is more in this film than you might think for a film of this sort. First - zombies. Zombie movies tend to be commentaries of some sort. George Romero has mastered the technique of commenting on the ills of society through his zombie movies. Zombieland tends to comment on the human condition (our ability or inability to trust, need for companionship/fellowship, wants and needs, etc.) more than society but the commentary is present for those who care to look.
More importantly, there is a wonderful message about rules in Zombieland. The main character, Columbus keeps a list of survival rules for himself that get flashed on the screen throughout the movie. Rule #1: Cardio - because then you can outrun the zombies. Rule#2: Double Tap - because this is no time to preserve your ammunition. Rule #3: Beware of bathrooms - because the zombies got smart and learned to attack us at our most vulnerable moments. The rules are not limiting, they are freeing because they are life preserving. The rules are for Columbus' benefit not his punishment. This is a direct correlation to God's rules for humanity. I cannot say how often I have heard about Christianity being about rules and regulations from God. Part of this is certainly true. God gave us the Ten Commandments and Jesus said that there are two important rules - Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. People outside the faith seem to think that these rules are limiting. But those of us who listen to God understand that the rules are for our benefit, for our good, for our protection and for our freedom. God's rules are not punitive, they are life giving. Columbus' rules are not punitive, they are life giving. In fact, it is only because of his rules that Columbus has survived to that point. God wants us to live and thrive too, that's why God gave us rules.
Anyway, if you go see one horror film in theaters this Halloween season, make it Zombieland. And if you go see one comedy in theaters this Halloween season Zombieland fits the bill too. If you don't mind the gore, this one is well worth seeing.

1 comment:

Denise @ Sunflowers, Chocolate and Little Boys said...

Wow Pastor Don! You Rock. No one else could take a zombie movie review and relate it to God. Great job!!