Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) Review

We are living in a world of sequels, our Box Office is saturated with them and Hollywood seems constantly on the look out for the next nostalgic property to milk and capitalise upon. So it made sense that they would turn their eyes to Zombieland, a little film from 2009 which gained praise for its story and tone and a decent following for the same reasons. Ten years have passed since the film left its cultural footprint on the world and much has changed since then. All the core actors have gone onto other successes, with Emma Stone even wining an Oscar for her performance in La La Land. And yet all four actors were happy to return to the franchise, leading to a film that does not break much ground but sure as hell has a lot of heart. 

Set ten years after the events of the first film, we see our band of foul-mouthed survivors now navigating a world where different breeds of zombie exist. From the slow and stupid ‘Homers’ to the silent yet deadly ‘Ninjas’, the general scape of Zombieland has changed and yet it also feels eerily the same. While taking refuge in the White House, our found family find themselves falling apart – with Wichita and Columbus facing issues in their romance, and Little Rock and Tallahassee finding their paternal relationship strained. In many ways this film places primary focus on Abigail Breslin’s character, who finds herself longing for the companionship of other young adults. Both she and the primary romance between Stone and Eisenberg also raise the question about how normal a life can be, when the world has already ended. A question that the film sadly doesn’t play with, not daring to cross into the ethical quandaries addressed by other zombie franchises such as The Walking Dead. 

All four actors in the primary cast are excellent, returning to their roles with precision and accuracy, demonstrating why they are all considered fantastic modern performers. But we also have get a slew of new characters to refresh us, so that the story feels newer and less indicative of the first one. Among these new characters we have Zoey Deutch as Madison, a blonde and pink bombshell who develops an attraction to the geeky Columbus. Deutch is honestly amazing in her role and practically steals all the attention and laughs from her co-stars. Seeing such an over the top caricature surviving in this world is already hilarious, but its the small details and one liners that have already made Madison a fan favourite. In the film we also get another interesting female character in the form of Nevada, played by Rosario Dawson, who may just be the queen of genre movies. Written as a love interest for Tallahassee, Dawson fills the role with wit and charm and looks amazing doing it. 

The story overall is nothing new, and when you really boil it down to a few basic bullet points you basically have the same plot as the first film but on a larger scale. Sadly not much new ground is covered here, even with a new breed of terminator zombie on the loose. The film also injects a strange and albeit pointless sequence where the characters meet their comical doubles. The scene is funny for a minute or two but then you begin to question why it is even needed. The film also suffers from not really having a point or lesson to tell. Whereas the first film was about discovering a family in a world where such a concept seems as alien as the flesh-hungry undead, this film seems to be about how the characters are now forever trapped within the same cycle. Something that I guess they just have to live with. Even after discovering a new family, Little Rock inevitably chooses the core gang and it seems she has to be happy with that.

Overall my reaction to this film was likeable indifference. There wasn’t really much they could do in the end to reinvent this story and that’s not a bad thing, we just get a sequel that feels like the first film and doesn’t really change things up. But the love of the actors and the passion of the creative team make this film enjoyable and endearing, although I doubt this film will hold the same legacy as its funnier predecessor. 

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