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Now or Then – Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead?

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Now: Zombieland (2009)Then: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Horror comedies — and in particular zombie comedies — have always been a dime a dozen (but still a hard combo to sell). Ruben Fleischer’s new flick Zombieland is promising to rise above the rest thanks to its mix of wit, emotional dynamics, and directorial flair… So much so that it is provoking comparisons to yet another recent classic of the genre, Edgar Wright’s hilarious and weirdly touching British horror send-up Shaun of the Dead. So, how do these two zom-coms compare to one another?
Warning: Major spoilers for both movies abound!

Our Nerdy Hero

Zombieland: Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is a romantically challenged, klutzy, yet industrious young college student who is still alive in part thanks to his obsessive list of rules for surviving the zombie apocalypse.

Shaun of the Dead: Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a shlubby young slacker whose girlfriend has just left him. Although initially oblivious to the zombies rising all around him, he eventually discovers his inner zombie killer.

His Distracted Sidekick

Zombieland: Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) is a cowboy hat-wearing tough-guy who picks up Columbus. And although he’s a genuine badass, he’s also dangerously obsessed with finding a Twinkie.

Shaun of the Dead: Shaun’s best friend Ed (Nick Frost) is a portly, easygoing guy who is dangerously obsessed with checking his cellphone, even as the zombies close in on them.

An Unwise Destination
Zombieland: Against the better judgment of others, Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) are headed to Pacific Playland, their favorite amusement park — where (sure enough) we are treated to an elaborately gruesome confrontation between our heroes and an army of zombies.

Shaun of the Dead: Against the better advice of his girlfriend, Shaun and Ed lead our heroes to their supposedly safe favorite bar, The Winchester — where (sure enough) we are treated to an elaborately gruesome confrontation between our heroes and an army of zombies.

Zombie Impersonation 101
Zombieland: The gang hides out in a mansion owned by movie star Bill Murray (Bill Murray), who has donned zombie makeup in order to blend in when he goes out.

Shaun of the Dead: The gang makes its way into the zombie-surrounded Winchester by pretending to stagger around like zombies.

A Friend’s Sacrifice

Zombieland: While Columbus tries to save the girls when they are surrounded by zombies, Tallahassee distracts the undead by locking himself into a game booth and opening fire.

Shaun of the Dead: After Ed gets bitten, he lets Shaun and Liz (Kate Ashfield) escape the rest of the zombies by staying behind and wreaking havoc.

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