|Abigail Breslin||...||Little Rock|
|Derek Graf||...||Clown Zombie|
A mutated strain of mad cow disease has turned most humans into cannibalistic zombies within two months after the initial outbreak. Unaffected loner college student "Columbus" (Jesse Eisenberg) is attempting to make his way to Columbus, Ohio to see whether his parents are still alive, more out of a sense of obligation than any real concern. Along a stretch of highway, he meets "Tallahassee" (Woody Harrelson), another wandering survivor who seems driven solely by his desire to find Twinkies. They elect to travel together.
The two men enter a local grocery store (looking for Twinkies), where they dispatch a number of the infected. In a back room, they encounter "Wichita" (Emma Stone) and her younger, 12-year-old sister "Little Rock" (Abigail Breslin). The sisters were con artists before the catastrophe, and have little trouble tricking Tallahassee and Columbus into handing over their weapons. The girls leave, taking their vehicle in the process. Now forced to travel on foot, the two men find a Hummer stocked with weapons, with Tallahassee set out bent upon revenge, but when they catch up with the girls, the two once more gain the upper hand, relieving the men of their weapons and car again. Tallahassee manages to wrestle away Little Rock's gun, resulting in a Mexican standoff. Columbus negotiates an uneasy truce, and they all travel in the Hummer.
The girls state that they are going to the "Pacific Playland" amusement park, which is supposedly free of zombies. Columbus does not want to go along at first, but when Wichita informs him that his hometown has been destroyed, he stays with the group. When they reach Hollywood, Tallahassee takes them to Bill Murray's mansion. Tallahassee and Wichita meet Murray himself, uninfected but disguised as a zombie so he can walk (and golf) safely among the infected. When Murray attempts to scare Columbus and Little Rock as a practical joke, Columbus shoots him, believing him a real zombie. As Murray lies dying, Little Rock asks if he had any regrets, to which he replies with his last breath, "Garfield, maybe." Later, Columbus discovers Tallahassee has been grieving for his young son, lost to the zombies, rather than his dog as he had earlier led Columbus to believe. Wichita nearly kisses Columbus, but fearing attachment, she leaves with Little Rock for Pacific Playland without warning. Columbus persuades a reluctant Tallahassee to follow in one of Murray's vehicles.
At Pacific Playland, Wichita and Little Rock activate all the rides and lights, attracting nearby hordes of zombies. A battle ensues, leaving the two trapped on a drop tower ride. Tallahassee and Columbus arrive just as the sisters' ammunition runs out. Tallahassee lures the zombies away, then locks himself in a game booth, shooting zombies at his leisure, while Columbus goes after the sisters. In gratitude for having been rescued, Wichita reveals her real name is Krista. Tallahassee eliminates the remaining zombies, then blissfully consumes a Twinkie that Little Rock has found. The group leaves Pacific Playland together after Little Rock and Witchita give the men a scare by pretending to leave them behind. Then, Columbus realizes he's finally found what he's been lacking: a family.
A running gag, and a central theme throughout the film, is the list of rules Columbus comes up with for surviving in the zombie-infested world. By the end of the film, his list has thirty-three rules; but only a few are mentioned. A series of promotional videos starring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg expanded on the list presented in the film.
- "Double tap" ("Ziploc bags" in a deleted scene)
- "Beware of bathrooms"
- "Wear seatbelts"
- "Cast iron skillet"
- "Travel light"
- "Get a kickass partner"
- "Bounty paper towels"
- "Bowling Ball"
- "Don't be a hero." Columbus changes the rule to "Be a hero" at the amusement park, facing his greatest fear, a clown-zombie, to save Wichita and Little Rock.
- "Limber up"
- "Avoid strip clubs"
- "When in doubt, know your way out"
- "The buddy system"
- "Check the back seat"
- "Enjoy the little things"
- "Swiss army knife"
- "Clean socks"
- "Always have backup"
|Awards and nominations|
|Broadcast Film Critics Association||Best Comedy Movie||Nominated|
|Detroit Film Critics Society||Best Supporting Actor||Woody Harrelson||Nominated|
|Best Ensemble||Abigail Breslin|
|Empire Awards||Best Horror||Nominated|
|Golden Schmoes||Best Comedy of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Horror Movie of the Year||Won|
|Biggest Surprise of the Year||Nominated|
|Coolest Character of the Year||(Tallahassee)|
|Best Action Sequence of the Year||(Tallahassee vs. the Amusement Park)|
|Most Memorable Scene of the Year||(Bill Murray Cameo)||Won|
|Best T&A of the Year||Emma Stone||Nominated|
|MTV Movie Awards||Best Scared-As-S**t Performance||Jesse Eisenberg||Nominated|
|Best WTF Moment||(Bill Murray?! A Zombie?!)|
|Saturn Awards||Best Horror Film||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Woody Harrelson|
|Sitges Film Festival||Audience Award||Ruben Fleischer||Won|
|Scream Awards||Ultimate Scream||Nominated|
|Best Horror Movie||Won|
|Best Scream-Play||Rhett Reese||Nominated|
|Best Horror Actress||Emma Stone|
|Best Horror Actor||Woody Harrelson|
|Best Supporting Actress||Abigail Breslin|
|Best Cameo||Bill Murray||Won|
|Best Ensemble||Abigail Breslin|
|St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association||Best Comedy||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Actress: Comedy||Emma Stone||Nominated|
Due to the film's success, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have planned a possible sequel, with many more ideas they want to explore. "We would love it, and everybody involved creatively wants to do another one", said Wernick. "Woody Harrelson came up to us after the final cut of the last scene and gave us a hug and said, 'I've never wanted to do a sequel in the previous movies I've done until this one.'" Wernick said he plans to have Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin to star again with Ruben Fleischer returning as the director and that the writers have "tons of new ideas swimming in [their heads]". Additionally, they want to make the comedy into an enduring franchise. "We would love to do several sequels", stated Wernick. "We would love to also see it on television. It would make a wonderful TV series".
Reese and Wernick do not want to reveal any potential Zombieland sequel plot points. They are not planning on an immediate sequel, due to being heavily involved with other writing projects. The original cast and director are all set to return and Fleischer is enthusiastic about the idea of doing the sequel in 3D. Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg confirmed in February 2010 their return for the second installment of the series. In 2010, Fleischer stated that he was working on the screenplay and the creators have begun searching for another "superstar cameo".