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“Zombieland: Double Tap” Recaptures The Undead Fun Of The First One

For a while, it seemed like a sequel to Zombieland would never happen. Lo and behold, however, 2019 is the year in which we get another day in Zombieland, a full decade after the original hit theaters. Opening tonight, Zombieland: Double Tap is a really fun reunion with characters we care about. The freshness of the original isn’t quite there, but instead of seeking to be as creatively daring again, the returning players in front of and behind the camera opt to lean into pure fun. In short order, the movie reminds you why you had such a good time with these characters and this premise, making for a breezy action/comedy/horror hybrid.

The film is a sequel, of course, to Zombieland. Since we last left our heroes, they’ve been setting into the new world, holding off the undead and forming an unlikely family. In the opening moments, Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) informs us of some new zombies wandering America. Then, it’s time to see where he, Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) have set up shop. Go figure, it’s The White House. For a bit, they feel at home, but Little Rock feels left out by the relationship between Columbus and Wichita. Feeling strangled by father figure Tallahassee, she’s eager to move on from her family. When events lead the group to split, an adventure begins through the American heartland, one that features evolved zombies, as well as fellow survivors like Madison (Zoey Deutch), Nevada (Rosario Dawson), Albuquerque (Luke Wilson), Flagstaff (Thomas Middleditch), and Berkley (Avan Jogia). Ruben Fleischer returns to direct, while original writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick again pen the script, this time with the help of Dave Callaham. David Sardy composed the score, while the cinematography is by Chung-hoon Chung.

There’s a surprisingly high amount of charm on display here, in between the blood and guts. We genuinely enjoy all of the characters, old and new, so the humor hits with a higher percentage than it otherwise might have. The returning cast are all great (though Breslin is way under-used), while Deutch is a major stand out among the new additions. Arguably, she steals the show, bringing a dim California type ditziness to the smartassery of the rest of the group. The balance leads to some really funny gags, even if admittedly nothing is as creatively fresh as what we saw in the original entry.

Zombieland: Double Tap gets one major ding for not upping its visual style. Reese and Wernick, along with Callaham this time around, make the screenplay plenty witty and definitely “Zombieland.” Fleischer, however, leaves less of a mark. The visual cues of the zombie survival rules return, but in a less fun way here. Getting the entire band back together was definitely a coup, but Fleischer certainly seems like the one who mattered the least. It isn’t a big issue, and you’ll likely be laughing too much to really care, but I definitely noticed it. If there’s a third installment, he probably isn’t an essential piece of the puzzle.

If you loved the first one back in 2009, Zombieland: Double Tap is going to be right up your alley. Fans can give this one a look today, and in all likelihood, it’ll majorly satisfy. Zombieland has a ton of admirers out there, and they should be in for a treat with this sequel. One note though, since I’m sure most of you are curious. While there isn’t a crazy cameo like Bill Murray in the last one, audiences definitely want to stay for the credits. No spoilers, trust me, but it’s well worth waiting for. Go figure, the entire film was too…

Be sure to check out Zombieland: Double Tap, in theaters everywhere this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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