In Zombieland the characters are not unessential, killable robots running around with guns. Refreshingly unlike the average zombie thriller, there is a small cast of four major characters in this movie all of which we are endeared to very well during the movie. None of these characters are a one-dimension tool to be inevitable zombie food. Instead, we find them funny, approachable, and don't want to lose any of them.
The awkward hero. He fits the stereotype video game nerd, but he has elements of depth. His depth arises in his rules. This is a nice added element to the zombie genre and finally well-placed in a zombie film. Columbus abides by certain rules in ZombieLand, he constantly brings them up throughout the film, acknowledging their importance or practice. He's a survivalist, but in a very careful sense. He's the brains with no bronze, but he's tactful. He's socially awkward, but before zombie's ruled the planet. This adds a deeper side to him. People were never something he really wanted in his life; he avoided them as if they were already zombies. When we join him, however, he is now venturing to Columbus hoping to find family. He craves family and a place to belong. This also makes him relatable, a perfect protagonist. His humorous, awkward side, intelligent, self-conscious demeanor, and his feeling of being lost, displaced, all make him a character we can relate to.
The hick zombie killer. Again, a very simple stereotype. He drives an SUV with a plow welded on the front and for some reason paints the number three on his car of choice. He is the yang to Columbus' yin, a perfect balance to the film. As a character he's rather simple, but he's a good leader, extremely capable of handling many zombies, and really wants to kill as many of them as he can. His back story adds depth to a character you don't expect to have any. He's not a complicated man, however.
Mean chick with trust issues. Unfortunately here is where the movie is weak with it's characters. Wichita is a nondescript age somewhere around the same as Columbus. She doesn't fit his standard damsel in distress as she plays a trick on them right from the beginning. With her counterpart, Little Rock, they travel only with each other and only trust each other. If I tried to describe this character's personality I'd have a lot of problems. Beyond "trust issues" and something regarding "bitch-ish" she doesn't really have a character. She should ultimately have been named "Bitch One: The Love Interest." They could call her BO for short. Her back story doesn't really expound upon who she is or where she came from, and her nice side randomly comes out before it suddenly envelops her character completely.
As I've already started the negative element to this review with Witchita, Little Rock is in the same vein. She's a twelve-year-old girl that varies from two extremes as a gun-handling bad ass and an innocent young child. Partly this works and is believable, as she still loves Hannah Montana and the idea of going to a theme park, but she's been living in ZombieLand. Again, however, beyond these two basic qualities we don't have any depth, how she became this way, or why. Columbus and Tallahassee we understand their behavior, we learn to accept it because of what happened/or how they were before zombies, and they've been endeared to us in this way. Little Rock (and Wichita) are only endeared to the audience because of the comical elements and Columbus' interest in Wichita.