Take a boatload of zombies, a hilarious/clever script, Woody Harrelson, a heaping portion of Michael Cera Jesse Eisenberg, a bit of Emma Stone, and some more zombies, and you have the recipe for one of the year’s most truly entertaining movies.
…all because the filmmakers followed the Rules:
Rule #1: Have a Hook
Give your lead character/narrator a quirk, a trait, something that makes him/her stand out from every other lead character/narrator. Perhaps a list of Rules for dealing with zombies. And maybe you could put those Rules up on the screen at appropriate times. Genius.
Rule #7: Blood Levels
How much gore is too much? Well, if you can find it, go for the middle ground. Sure, we can see some zombies eating some other zombies, but if you put the worst stuff at the beginning, people will go home thinking, ‘hey, that wasn’t too bad at all!’ Less than Saw. More than Enchanted.
Rule #12: Abigail Breslin
Seriously, the kid is golden. She could be cast in a remake of The Jerk. As the lamp. And she’d still be great.
Rule #13: Killer Tunes
Many movies live and die with their soundtrack. Zombie movie? It’s always best to include a little Metallica, a smattering of Van Halen, and a particularly inspired scene set to Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro.
Rule #16: Romance? What?
Sure, it’s OK to have a couple ‘awww’ moments, but give them about as much attention as you would the third-zombie-from-the-left’s wardrobe. Keep them short and (really) sweet.
Rule #19: Weapon of Choice
Sure, firearms are a great way to rid yourself of zombies. But feel free to get a little creative. Try a piano, an amusement park ride, or maybe even a toilet lid.
Rule #22: Cameo Pay-off
If you going through all the trouble of having a cameo, make sure the audience is duly rewarded. Bill Murray? Check. And then some.
Rule #26: Who’s Bad
Making a funny movie with scary creatures? There are plenty of scream-inducing things out there—vampires, serial killers, Kate Hudson. But zombies? Not so much. They’re perfect if you’re want your movie to have a significant chuckle factor.
Rule #28: Purpose-Driven Life
Is there really any nobler quest than the eternal search for The Last Twinkie?