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Played by Jesse Eisenberg
"I avoided people like they were zombies before they were all zombies. Now that they are all zombies... I kinda miss people."The protagonist of the film, a college student trying to return to his family in Columbus, Ohio.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted. It’s implied he is one.
- Action Survivor: He's a go-to example of this trope. He's an ordinary scrawny dork who is one of the last living people on the planet, all because he's smart and has got a long list of rules to help him survive.
- Apologetic Attacker: When putting down 406.
- Badass: Uhhh, not exactly at first, but he becomes one over the course of the film.
- Badass Bookworm: He created the list of rules he uses to survive in the Zombie Apocalypse, and they do seem to work.
- Crazy-Prepared: Columbus has a fairly long and exhaustive list of rules for surviving the apocalypse such as "Know Your Way Out", "Beware of Bathrooms" and the famous "Double Tap".
- The Hero: The film's main character and the one who pulls the foursome together. See The Leader below.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: He has a minor one when Wichita tells him that Columbus, Ohio is in ruins, meaning that his parents are probably dead.
- Hollywood Nerd: He is a shut-in who, like Zoey, wasted all his time in his apartment, guzzling junk food and dreaming about the Girl Next Door. Though he was less preoccupied with watching Zombie B-Movies than playing World of Warcraft, and was surprisingly limber for a nerd.
- The Leader: He more or less pulls the foursome together by telling them they have to work together if they are all to survive. See The Hero above.
- Love Makes You Dumb: He insists on pursuing Wichita even after she stole his shotgun twice and then kidnapped him. It continues at the end after she again steals the Hummer and goes off to Pacific Playland with Little Rock though if he hadn't gone after her, she and Little Rock probably wouldn't have survived.
- No Name Given: He only refers to himself as "Columbus", which is where he's from.
- Odd Couple: With Tallahassee, before the introduction of Wichita and Little Rock.
- Shut In: Before the Zombie Apocalypse. He describes his parents as "paranoid shut-ins" as well.
- Took a Level in Badass: Before the film he was a shut-in spending all his free time on World of Warcraft, but becomes a competent survivor by the time we meet him and ends up a big damn hero.
- Weapon of Choice: As his allies gather up submachine guns and semi-automatic shotguns, Columbus insists on sticking with his IGA Coach double-barrel shotgun.
Played by Woody Harrelson
"My momma always told me someday I’d be good at somethin'. Who'd have guessed that somethin' would be zombie killin'?"A man who took one look at the zombie apocalypse and realized he'd been waiting for it his entire life.
- Action Hero: An oddity for a zombie film character, but yes, especially when he single-handedly wipes out a horde of zombies at Pacific Playland.
- Anti-Hero: See Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Ax-Crazy: When it comes to killing zombies and finding a Twinkie, both of which are obsessions for him.
- Badass: Absolutely. He kills dozens of zombies in the film's climax.
- Big Brother Mentor: Is this to Columbus and then to Little Rock, especially when he teaches her how to properly shoot.
- The Big Guy: In both size and age. He's the oldest of the four, (old enough to have fathered a young son) and the tallest.
- Blood Knight: Tallahassee loves him some zombie killin'. Columbus notes that he has some sort of chip on his shoulder for them that goes beyond "it's okay to kill zombies". That's because they killed his son.
- Broken Ace: Despite being undeniably Badass, Tallahassee is clearly a man broken by the world he lives in. Because he's a man who has outlived his son.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: A skilled zombie hunter who is also batshit insane.
- Catchphrase: "Time to nut up or shut up!"
- Does Not Like Spam: Tallahassee can't stand Sno-Balls, due to the coconut. It's not the taste, it's the consistency.
- Guns Akimbo: Carries two handguns for his Last Stand.
- Gun Twirl: After surviving his Last Stand.
- Heartbroken Badass: There's a reason he hates zombies. You know Buck, his puppy? Buck wasn't a puppy. Buck was his son.
- Humble Goal: Tallahassee's Twinkie obsession.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Tallhasse is besieged by sixty zombies and has sixty rounds of ammo for his pistols, and makes every shot count.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He can be quite brash and surly at times, but starts to care about the others, sees Little Rock as a Replacement Goldfish for his dead son and it's thanks to his Last Stand that Columbus is able to save Wichita and Little Rock at the end.
- Knight in Sour Armour: He kills zombies because they killed his puppy. Or so Columbus thinks, before Tallahassee reveals it was his SON, not his puppy.
- The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Upon meeting Bill Murray, Tallahassee becomes a squeeing fanboy.
- Last Stand: A quite magnificent one at that. Subverted in that he survives.
- Man Child: Lampshaded by Columbus a few times.
- Moment Killer: He's a professional at it according to Columbus since he keeps interrupting him and Wichita.
- Nice Hat: His Stetson.
- No Name Given: He only refers to himself as "Tallahassee", which is where he's from.
- Odd Couple: With Columbus. Tallahassee is a Badass zombie slayer, while Columbus is just a scrawny Action Survivor.
- Pop-Cultured Badass
- Sacrificial Lion: He appears to become this at the climax of the movie. Except that he's such a Crazy Awesome Badass, he survives.
- Squee: When he meets Bill Murray in the latter's mansion, revealing himself to be a massive fanboy.
- Team Dad: Ends up becoming this.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Twinkies. He's obsessed with finding some throughout the whole movie. At the end, Little Rock throws him one.
- Walking Armory: During the climax, when he carries two machine pistols, two pump-action shotguns and two pistols.
Played by Emma Stone
"You have just survived the zombie apocalypse and drove half way across the country... where are you gonna go? "A con artist who survived the zombie apocalypse with her little sister.
- Action Survivor: She never stopped conning people after the Zombie Apocalypse. Columbus survives it by being Crazy-Prepared, Wichita survives by being absolutely ruthless.
- Big Sister Instinct: If you are not Little Rock, then it's going to take some very extenuating circumstances for Wichita not to rob you blind and leave you for dead if she gets the chance. If you threaten Little Rock, you've got about the same chance of not being shot.
- Broken Bird: It's never revealed why precisely, but Wichita is a misanthrope with a crapton of trust issues.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Something she completely acknowledges, and even plays with it at the end of the movie when she pretends to be leaving without Columbus and Tallahassee again.
- Con Man: Even before the Zombie Apocalypse, when she and Little Rock scammed people for money.
- Jerkass/Jerk with a Heart of Gold: For most of the movie. She disarms the guys and leaves them for dead twice, kidnaps them once, and steals their only transportation three times over the course of the film. She gets better over the course of the movie, with the scene where she dances with Columbus being particularly sweet of her.
Played by Abigail Breslin
"I'm going to Pacific Playland! Woo!"Wichita's little sister and fellow con artist.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: To a lesser degree than her sister, as she feels bad about doing it.
- Little Miss Badass: She gets the drop on Columbus and Tallahassee in the Hummer when Tallahassee fails to check the backseat, which is where she was hiding.
- Little Miss Con Artist: Like Wichita, she scammed people before the Zombie Apocalypse as well.
- Morality Pet: Her older sister, Wichita, genuinely adores her, which makes Little Rock the sole person alive Wichita will put before herself.
- No Name Given: Following the pattern set by Columbus and Tallahassee, she takes the name of the place she is from.
- Replacement Goldfish: Becomes one to Talahassee for his son.
Played by Amber Heard
"That's not even the worst part!"Columbus' next-door neighbor at college. She became a zombie and tried to kill him.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: 406's eventual fate, as the first zombie Columbus ever killed.
- Brainless Beauty: Gives that impression.
- The Can Kicked Him: She forces Columbus to put her down using a combination of the bathroom door, shower curtains and finally a "double tap" across the skull with a toilet tank lid.
- Girl Next Door: Was this for Columbus before becoming a zombie, as he calls her 406, and she calls him 408.
- Killed Off for Real: She was the first zombie Columbus killed.
- No Name Given: Columbus never learned her name, so he just calls her by her room number when telling others what happened to her.
- Zombie Infectee: When she was bitten by her assailant, she neglected to mention that she didn't come out unscathed. She turns while Columbus is asleep, and he is forced to kill her.
Played by Bill Murray
"I was never a very good practical joker."Bill Murray. Yes, the real one. He's been holed up in his mansion for the duration of the apocalypse.
- As Himself: Yes, that is Bill Murray playing himself as the character with the most screen time other than the main four heroes.
- Celebrity Survivor: Bill Murray is living out the Zombie Apocalypse in his Beverly Hills mansion, using his acting talents to go outside without being eaten.
- Didn't Think This Through: Scaring people whilst dressed like a zombie is not wise at all, and it gets him killed.
- Face Death with Dignity: Takes his death very well.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Little too convincing in his role as a zombie, which gets him shot fatally by Columbus.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: Murray's surprise cameo and shocking death are near impossible to avoid.
- Master of Disguise: He disguises himself as a zombie to fool zombies enough to go outside once in a while. It works a little too well on humans.
- My Greatest Failure: Played for laughs.Wichita: Do you have any regrets?
Murray: ... Garfield, maybe.
[everyone nods in understanding]
- Nice Guy: Yeah! Bill is humble in the face of Tallahassee's gushing and welcomes them into his home. He doesn't even get angry about being fatally shot.
- Old Shame: In-Universe. Maybe Garfield.
- Too Dumb to Live: Sneaking up on people who have a shotgun while pretending to be a zombie turns out to be a bad idea.Murray: I was never a very good practical joker.