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Originally published Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 3:02 PM

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Movie review

'Zombieland' is a real scream

It stars Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson and Abigail Breslin. A review by Orlando Sentinel movie critic Roger Moore.

The Orlando Sentinel

Movie review 3.5 stars

'Zombieland,' with Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin. Directed by Ruben Fleischer, from a screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. 90 minutes. Rated R for horror violence/gore and language. Several theaters; see Page XX.

In the months after the zombie apocalypse, brought on by a virulent mutation of mad-cow disease, America has ceased to be.

The few survivors don't use names but hometowns as their monikers. They travel the interstates in sturdy GM SUVs, loaded with weapons, looking for refuge. They listen to heavy metal — "Don't Fear the Reaper," of course. In this United States of "Zombieland," all they want are "the little things" — like Twinkies.

"Zombieland" is the funniest zombie movie since "Shaun of the Dead," funnier even than "Fido." This is a "28 Days Later" played for laughs — lots of them.

Jesse Eisenberg plays our narrator — a survivor not because he's tough but because he's smart. He lives by a long set of post-zombie rules, rules that flash on the screen each time he applies one to some life-threatening situation — "Rule 3, Beware of bathrooms," "Rule 17, Don't be a hero."

The kid, "Columbus," is making his way home to Columbus, Ohio. "Tallahassee" is a snarling zombie-killer (Woody Harrelson). He's all action — guns and baseball bats and lawn-care implements that he uses to kill zombies as he prowls empty stores looking for the last Twinkie.

These two mismatched companions run up on some survivor sisters — Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), but "trust issues" stand in the way of their traveling as a quartet.

Director Ruben Fleischer and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick pepper the script with snark and wit. Humor flows as thick and black as the blood the zombies spurt and the bile the zombies vomit.

It's still just a dumb zombie movie, but at least in "Zombieland," they know "Living Dead" is the biggest joke of all.

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