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Movie ReviewsZombieland: Double Tap – An Only Slight Amusing Corpse of a Sequel

Guest WriterOctober 21, 201945/100
Starring
Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone
Writers
Dave Callaham, Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Director
Ruben Fleischer
Rating
18A (Canada), R (United States)
Running Time
99 minutes
Release Date
October 18th, 2019
Overall Score
Rating Summary
Zombieland: Double Tap doesn't ultimately work well enough to justify its existence. The cast remains great, maintaining their excellent chemistry.

Back in 2009, the original Zombieland felt like a bit of a breathe of fresh air for zombie films. It certainly wasn’t the first zombie comedy by any means. It wasn’t even the first or best zombie comedy of that decade because Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead already existed.  Nevertheless, it was very funny, delightfully gory, and featured a solid ensemble of enjoyable characters. Now it’s 10 years later and we finally have a sequel with Zombieland: Double Tap. It’s just unfortunate that the sequel has arrived far too late and can’t live up to its predecessor.

Zombieland: Double Tap sees our ragtag group of zombie apocalypse survivors – Columbus (Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Harreslson), Wichita (Stone), and Little Rock (Breslin) – roam the infested wastes of the United States in search of a permanent home. After initially settling down in Washington D.C., Little Rock runs away to search for other people her own age. Fearing for her safety, the remaining members of the group must chase her for hundreds of miles while dealing with a more dangerous form of zombie (and each others’ insecurities) along the way.

The biggest highlight for Zombieland: Double Tap is the same excellent chemistry between the members of the original cast. Harrelson still brings a confident and solitary swagger that belies his true nature to Tallahassee. Eisenberg remains excellent at playing a neurotic, slightly creepy guy with a good heart as Columbus. Stone is just as headstrong and just as vulnerable as Wichita. Finally, Breslin brings a firm rebellious streak to Little Rock.

The cast is also joined by a series of newcomers who bring additional energy and enjoyment to the proceedings. Rosario Dawson does very well as Nevada, the owner of an Elvis Presley-themed inn and potential love interest for Tallahassee. Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch as Albuquerque and Flagstaff respectively make for an amusing double act that nicely mirrors and pokes fun at the relationship between Tallahassee and Columbus. But it is the addition of Zoey Deutch as the vapid airhead Madison that offers the most enjoyment while stealing every scene she’s in as she improves them with her presence and comedic involvement.

Zombieland Double Tap‘s humor also remains a positive point, albeit in a far less successful fashion than that of the original. There are moments of humor from the first film that are repeated, but they don’t land as well because it’s been 10 years. Meanwhile, other jokes were added this time around to continue the self-aware style from the original, though updated for 2019 sensibilities. The contrast in relational styles between the Tallahassee-Columbus duo and the Albuquerque-Flagstaff duo makes for some amusing observations. And, of course, anything that comes out of Zoey Deutch’s mouth is hilarious in its idiocy.

Where Zombieland Double Tap falls apart is in its mere existence and place in the current pop culture landscape. In 2009, Zombieland felt ironically vivid in a world that saw zombie media as being largely dead and buried. And then The Walking Dead happened, along with several other attempts at zombie movies and television shows, giving audiences an array of options to sate their possible interest in the undead. Double Tap feels like it’s treading old ground and finding that the old ground is now somewhat barren.

There’s also not much in the way of an update to the social critique that is associated with zombie fiction. As a comparison, another 2019 zombie comedy offering – Jim Jarmusch’s dry-witted The Dead Don’t Die at least examines today’s obsession with materialism and serves as an allegory for the political landscape in the United States in 2019. While Double Tap‘s humor works better for a more mainstream audience, there’s little else to support the need for its existence. It is a sequel arriving 10 years after the original and the world has moved on from it to better things.

In the end, the new additions to Zombieland Double Tap bring different levels of fun to their roles, especially Zoey Deutch. And there’s still some decent humor to be gleaned. But with little else going on inside, it just feels like its titular monsters – a shuffling, albeit slightly entertaining husk that is easily taken down by a couple shots.

If you’re a diehard fan of the first film, it’s worth a watch. Otherwise, save it for Netflix or rental.

*still courtesy of Sony Pictures*


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