Zombieland: Double Tap
Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin, Zoey Deutch, Rosario Dawson
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…a brisk and fun time at the movies.
It’s been ten years since the first Zombieland, Ruben Fleischer’s slight-but-fun directorial debut, and the world hasn’t exactly been crying out for a sequel. Don’t get us wrong, the original is a cute flick, but the realm of popular culture isn’t hurting for a lack of zombie comedies these days. The best zombie comedies are about something. Shaun of the Dead (arguably the king of the subgenre) was a story about taking responsibility and maturing, that just happened to take place during a zombie apocalypse. Peter Jackson’s Braindead was a story about a man learning to embrace love and stand up to his domineering mum, who eventually manifests as a gigantic, undead monster. Zombieland: Double Tap, like the original Zombieland, is about… four extremely charming actors pissfarting about in the land of the dead, which isn’t a lot to chew on.
Zombieland: Double Tap joins the foursome of Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) after another stunning opening credits sequence set to a Metallica song (“Master of Puppets”, this time). After they take over the White House as their new home base, the group falls into a rut. Little Rock is a young woman now and wants some friends her own age, and after Columbus proposes to the notoriously commitment-phobic Wichita, the sisters decide to head off on their own. Naturally things go tits up and Little Rock goes missing, so it’s up to the gang – with new character Madison (Zoey Deutch) – to save her, quip and kill a shitload of zombies.
So many elements of Zombieland: Double Tap shouldn’t work. The story is essentially a slightly remixed retread of the original, the characters are basically learning the same lessons they did a decade ago and on paper Madison’s dumb, giggling blonde schtick should be the cinematic equivalent of nails down a blackboard. Yet, here’s the twist: Zombieland: Double Tap is actually a whole lot of fun. The script is clever and knowing, the leads are as charming as always, and new addition Zoey Deutch commits so fully to her cartoonish role, she ends up being one of the highlights of the film. Combine that with a sensible runtime of 93 minutes, a capable support role from the always welcome Rosario Dawson and some cheerfully creative zombie kills, and you’ve got a recipe for a brisk and fun time at the movies.
Zombieland: Double Tap isn’t dripping with subtext, depth or nuance, but it knows exactly what it needs to be. And although it’s a sequel the world wasn’t crying out for, it’s probably one those in the mood for amiable, charming nonsense will devour.