Review: Zombieland: Double Tap delivers wise-cracking, brain-splattering fun
The makeshift family unit that slays together stays together in Zombieland: Double Tap, Director Ruben Fleischer's follow-up to his 2009 hit film Zombieland. This hotly anticipated sequel succeeds in recapturing much of the original's magic, with plenty of wit, gore, and playful callbacks to delight diehard fans. And let's just say you'll definitely want to hang around through the closing credits.
(Some spoilers below.)
In the first Zombieland, a virulent form of human-adapted mad cow disease sweeps across the United States, transforming most of the nations populace into ravenous zombies. The film follows a ragtag group of unlikely survivors—Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), and orphaned sisters Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin)—on a road trip in hopes of finding some place yet untouched by the disease, ending with a pitched battle against zombie hordes in an abandoned amusement park. Audiences (myself included) loved the mix of horror and dark screwball comedy, especially the "Zombie Kills of the Week" and Columbus's hilarious survival rules—cardio, limber up, beware of bathrooms, and buckle up, for instance—often illustrated by various doomed souls who failed to heed those rules. It was a fresh, fun take on the "zom-com" format.
While the original cast expressed enthusiasm for a sequel in the wake of Zombieland's success, the project languished for several years. All four main cast members have been nominated for Academy Awards, and Emma Stone actually won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in La La Land (2016). Fortunately, each of them retained sufficient fondness for their Zombieland experience to return for the sequel. They're clearly still having a blast with these characters, aided this time around by cast newcomers Zoey Deutch, Rosario Dawson, Avan Jogia, Luke Wilson, and Thomas Middleditch as additional survivors of the zombie apocalypse.
Ten years have passed for our protagonists in Zombieland: Double Tap—a reference to Columbus's Rule #2: don't get stingy with your bullets with zombies, shoot them twice to make sure they're dead. They've become a makeshift—rather dysfunctional—family unit, and they're a tightly disciplined zombie-killing team, eventually settling into the abandoned White House in what's left of Washington, DC, to satisfy Columbus' strong desire for a permanent home. Zombies have evolved, too, splintering into different subspecies. There are the "Homers" (as in Homer Simpson), the slow-moving, dim-witted classic Romero zombies; the "hawkings," which are faster and smarter; and the "ninjas," who sneak up on their victims and attack suddenly. There are also rumors of a newer breed of "super zombie," much more agile and significantly harder to kill.