Zombieland: Double Tap Review
'Zombieland: Double Tap' gives its audience all of the humor it deserves. And zombies.
Release Date: October 18, 2019
MPAA Rating: R
Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock move to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors, and the growing pains of the snarky makeshift family.
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Screenwriters: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Dave Callaham
Producer: Gavin Polone
Cast: Woody Harrelson (Tallahassee), Emma Stone (Wichita), Jesse Eisenberg (Columbus), Abigail Breslin (Little Rock), Zoey Deutch (Madison), Avan Jogia (Berkeley), Rosario Dawson (Nevada), Luke Wilson (Albuquerque), Thomas Middleditch (Flagstaff)
Editors: Chris Patterson, Dirk Westervelt
Cinematographer: Chung-hoon Chung
Production Designer: Martin Whist
Casting Director: John Papsidera
Music Score: David Sardy
What’s worse than a horror comedy sequel? A horror comedy sequel about zombies. But despite all these strikes (or perhaps because of them), Zombieland: Double Tap works.
Zombieland: Double Tap picks up years after the events of the first movie with our heroes Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Columbus (Café Society’s Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone from La La Land), and Little Rock (The Call’s Abigail Breslin) living, of all places, in the White House, finding it the most secure location to defend against the zombie apocalypse. Young Little Rock, however, has grown up and longs to be around people her own age and maybe, just maybe, even find a boyfriend. So she runs off, hooking up with a west-coast hippie named Berkeley (Shaft’s Avan Jogia). The gang goes after her, hoping to find the same thing that she wants: a permanent and safe home. But there’s a new breed of zombie that’s evolved, one that’s faster, smarter, and far more invincible.
Director Ruben Fleischer (who, in addition to having helmed the first Zombieland, also made last year’s Venom) realizes that there was no need to reinvent the wheel or fix what isn’t broken with Zombieland: Double Tap. The script was written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (who also wrote the original, as well as both Deadpool movies) along with Dave Callaham (Godzilla), and Fleischer just injects more of the same videogame-style zombie action interspersed with dry wit that fans have come to know and love from the Zombieland franchise into the standardized-yet-clever plot.
Now, of course, Zombieland: Double Tap is not just a retread of the first movie. Although the characters are the same (and, thankfully, all played by the same actors), they have grown and matured (kind of), and the cinematic universe has opened up a bit. And there are fun new characters, like the pacifist Berkeley and a mallrat named Madison (Zoey Deutch from Before I Fall), that keep things fresh and new. But the dysfunctional family vibe and the cursed journey motif is all still there.
There’s not much more to say about Zombieland: Double Tap. It’s fun and funny, just like its predecessor. Basically, Zombieland: Double Tap knows exactly what its audience wants, and gives it to them in spades. Nothing more, nothing less.
Ruben Fleischer and the rest of the Zombieland: Double Tap team emphasize the humorous aspects of the movie much more than the horror ones, and it’s absolutely hysterical. Much of the humor comes from the verbal sparring between the four leads, and the chemistry that they exhibit is undeniable. However, the funniest bits involve a pair of new characters named Albuquerque and Flagstaff (Luke Wilson from The Skeleton Twins and Thomas Middleditch from Godzilla: King of the Monsters, respectively), who are literal carbon copies of Tallahassee and Columbus, even though neither will admit it. The arrival of Albuquerque and Flagstaff also triggers the best zombie fight scene in the movie, a single-cam one take brawl that is seriously awesome.
But anyway. Between the colorful characters and the complete subversion of the zombie genre, Zombieland: Double Tap is hilarious. Oh, and the mid-credits scene is a must-watch.
With the exception of a couple of re-inventing movies like 28 Days Later and the remake of Dawn of the Dead, zombies haven’t been scary since the original Night of the Living Dead. Ruben Fleischer seems to realize this, because Zombieland: Double Tap is almost a parody of zombie movies. Even during some of the gorier scenes (and there is quite a bit of gore), nothing is really shocking at all. It’s all just set dressing to emphasize the zombie apocalypse that, quite frankly, the characters are more than capable of handling. So there’s very little that’s scary in Zombieland: Double Tap. It’s much more of a comedy, and it’s fine that way. Even better than fine. It’s downright terrific.