Can you believe it’s been 10 years since Zombieland became a sleeper hit, propelling upstarts Emma Stone and Jesse Eisenburg into A-List fame, and giving us quite possibly the best cameo ever with Bill Murray’s portrayal of… Bill Murray!
The film’s enjoyed a steady cult following over the years, and patient fans have been rewarded with a sequel in the form of Zombieland: Double Tap. Set about a decade after its predecessor, the movie reunites the core four of the cast, now shacked up in the White House and having to deal with evolving, stronger zombies, as well as their own human inner conflicts.
But in an age in which studio comedies aren’t the commercial powerhouse they once were, would Zombieland: Double Tap live up to the hype, or is it already consigned to the graveyard, an undead relic of a time gone by.
Watch on to find out....
Firstly, I’m happy to report that the cast chemistry that made the first movie so endearing is still most definitely there. Abigail Breslin, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Jesse Eisenberg are all on top form, and aside from physical aging, it’s hard to believe there’s been such a gap since we saw these characters last.
This is augmented by the addition of Madison, Columbus’ ditzy new love interest. Played by Zoey Deutch, she absolutely owns every scene she’s in, having some of the most belly-laugh-inducing moments in the film. In fact, she's so good, she makes a character we’re meant to find annoying entirely charming.
And because of this slightly increased main cast, Zombieland: Double Tap achieves what I would consider its primary goal, it’s genuinely really funny. It balances the line between laugh-a-minute gags without suffering from diminishing returns, and much of that is down to this aforementioned chemistry, rather than from any obviously scripted lines. I could be wrong, but the best moments definitely felt organic, almost improvised, and this spontaneity only adds to the laughs.
Zombieland was originally envisioned as an ongoing sitcom show before it ever hit the silver screen, and those roots are still very much evident.
With that all being said, this sequel isn’t quite perfect. A lot of the plot beats and jokes are either rehashed from the last film or not explored more than superficially. For example, instead of Twinkes, Tallahassee's new obsession is Elvis and Graceland, and we even get the classic Shaun of the Dead ‘bump into your doppelgängers’ gag. That’s not to say the jokes aren’t funny, they just feel a little safe.
On that note, the only other real critique I have for this film is the climatic final sequence. Without diving into spoilers, it is reminiscent of the first film’s finale, except where that felt raw and oddly believable for such an irreverent film, this felt an awful lot more contrived and, to use the word again safe.
And as I wrap up this humble review, that’s the overriding feeling I get from Zombieland: Double Tapped. It leans heavily onto what made the first film so iconic, without taking any major risks of left turns. That isn’t to say it’s a bad movie. If you enjoyed the original Zombieland, you’re bound to enjoy this too, and you can tell all the cast and crew put a lot of love and passion into this project.
Will Zombieland: Doubletap ever be considered iconic? Probably not. But it’s a hugely enjoyable romp, and a perfect comedy treat for the Halloween season.