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Zombieland: Double Tap – Movie Review

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Zombieland: Double Tap – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Sony Pictures

Ten years ago, Zombieland offered a fresh and funny take on the genre popularized by George Romero. Waiting a decade to produce a sequel is surprising, but director Ruben Fleischer, screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and the main cast are able to slip back into the groove of the first film. They even expand on some of the ideas explored and look into how so much time in a zombie apocalypse can affect the remaining populace. The comedy is still smart, with continued emphasis on the nerdy Columbus’s list of rules, and the new characters add to the sequel rather than distract and take time away from the original quartet.

One thing that has nicely stayed intact is the interaction between the main characters. Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson and Abigail Breslin do feel like people who have been together for several years and it’s great to catch up with them again. The filmmakers do provide enough context for those who walk in without having seen Zombieland, but then waste no time getting the plot in motion. Columbus’s narration takes a more meta approach this time (likely gained from Reese and Wernick’s period working on Deadpool), which leads to a few inspired jokes. While Double Tap is heavy on the action, most of the humour is verbal and quite witty.

Of the new characters introduced, Zoey Deutch’s ditzy survivor Madison is the stand-out. At first glance, she seems like your standard dumb blonde stereotype and that’s certainly a major part of the character. However, Deutch figures out how to play her in a way that’s oddly charming and endearing. Many of the biggest laughs come from seeing Madison make her way through this zombie apocalypse and how the original gang reacts to her. Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch also show up to provide some fun support. An interesting element in the sequel comes from seeing how those who came of age during the zombie infestation have reacted to the frequent need for survival.

Double Tap could have easily continued with the status quo, but we do get an understanding of how much the world has changed since the zombies first arrived. The sequel even shows the transformation of zombies, something the first movie skipped out on portraying. Ruben Fleischer pumps up the action in this installment, too. The various set-pieces put some fun spins on the usual shooting of zombies common in the genre, also leading to the continuing running joke of awarding a “zombie kill of the week” (now upgraded to year). One sequence appears to be done in a single take and it’s an impressive feat of choreography, stunt work and special effects.

Zombieland: Double Tap proves to be a solid follow-up to the enjoyable predecessor, realising how much the characters have been through since we previously saw them. It also succeeds as an entertaining and charming catch-up and the actors know exactly the right tone to play the heavy comedy and stakes of the film. Zombies are among the best movie monsters and the Zombieland series understands their appeal. Fleischer knows how to portray the horror elements and the devastation of this world, while still balancing the comedy. It will be interesting to see if we get a third Zombieland in ten years and how the characters will be doing then.

Stefan Ellison

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