1. ZombieLand Opening Scene – Detailed Analysis.
At the beginning of this film a handheld camera is used at a canted angle showing the American flag
while the American national anthem is played in the background, but in a slow and decayed sort of
style. Shallow focus on the flag is used for a dramatic introduction as the camera turns the right way
up and focuses on Washington in the background, which is smoking and shattered. The main
character narrates non-diegetically, telling the story of how his country is no longer America,
because you need people to have a country. As he says this the handheld camera pans shakily to
show cars overturned, guns on the floor and buildings on fire. Loud and shocking music then erupts
to surprise the audience as a zombie pounces on the camera holder from behind one of the
overturned cars. As juxtaposition to this, the narrator’s voice stays calm while talking about his
barren country, all the while the zombie tears away at the flesh of the man who is still holding the
camera. Visual effects are then used to show an extreme zoom out of Washington, and then out of
Earth, showing the planet on fire. All the while the narrator is still talking, as he introduces
ZombieLand. He then goes on to explain how it all started while introducing his rules of survival.
These rules are presented on the screen using special effects that fit in with what is being shown. His
first rule is Cardio, which is shown as large words beating like a heart on an American football pitch
while an overweight man is being chased by a zombie. The zombies will always be recognisable from
their uniform of blood smeared shabby clothes, and gruesome make-up. A tracking shot is first used
as it shows the zombie catching up with the man. Afterwards, as he’s about to pounce, the camera
angle uses a jump cut to show the front of them in a medium two shot while slow motion is used for
dramatic effect as the man is taken down and eaten. More sound effects are used for the sounds of
zombies eating people, as well as all of their groaning and growls.
As the narrator goes through these rules, each example is an everyday place and situation turned
bad. For rule number three a mother is shown quickly starting up her car while zombie children that
may once been her children ravage the car. Jump cut are used as she locks the doors and puts the
windows up, and a cut away shot is used to show her trying desperately to get the car keys in the
lock and to get the car started. Again, as each person is about to die slow motion is used for
dramatic effect, and to show off the blood and gore to their full effect.
As the last person dies the sound of Non-Diegetic church bells start to ring, and scenes of
devastation and destruction begin to be played in slow motion as the title come up through visual
effects. The church bells then become the beat as heavy rock music joins them to set the mood of
the film. All of the titles are floating in the air of the situation and get knocked and scattered aside as
people are running for their lives. This could be a metaphor of how everything is being broken in the
fight to survive. Unlike most horror films, the weather is quite sunny and normal in most of the
scenes and does not follow the technique of pathetic fallacy. This may helping in making the film
seem more realistic; just because zombies have taken over doesn’t mean the weather will stop being
nice. This effect is also used when the scenes are set in cities and neighbourhoods, instead of a
stereotypical haunted house that is expected of a horror film. Birdseye angles are used a lot,
especially when showing a person about to be attacked. This would help them seem venerable and
even more scared as they are dragged to the ground. Point of view shots are used whenever
someone is suspicious and about to be pounced on by a zombie, enabling the audience to feel the
shock that character would feel. This clip also shows that in this film zombies seem to turn quite fast,
as one man getting married was turning around to see his bride a zombie and grabbing for him.
2. Which is another juxtaposition as the zombie is in a beautiful wedding dress that is now blood
stained, it again helps the film seem more realistic and as though it could happen to anyone. At the
end on the clip the directors name id shattered along with a windscreen as a zombie lands on it and
sprays with blood. Synchronous to the impact, the final church bells ring louder through sound
perspective, ending the title sequence and leaving the film in silence as it begins the story properly.