Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)
Directed By: Ruben Fleischer
Written By: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, David Callaham
Ten years and one failed tv pilot after Zombieland arrived in theaters, we finally have a sequel. There were reasons to be concerned about this movie. Sometimes sequels just don’t work and it’s been a decade since the first movie. On the other hand, everyone from the original film came back, which seemed like a good sign. Double Tap manages to capture the spirit of the first film. This is a fun horror-comedy (emphasis on the comedy) that is smartly written and extremely entertaining.
Much has been made about the cast returning, as it should have been. Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin and Emma Stone have all come back for Double Tap and they all do a fantastic job. These feel like the same characters that we went on a cross country road trip with ten years ago. It’s like catching up with old friends. As great as they all are it’s important that Zoey Deutch doesn’t get overlooked for her role in making Double Tap a success. She plays a new character named Madison and she is absolutely hilarious throughout the film. The way she and Emma Stone play off of each other is incredible. I would love to see them make a hundred more movies together.
The writers and director Ruben Fleischer made the wise decision not to ignore the decade long gap between the two films. Instead they lean into it by acknowledging it right up front. They also play off of the fact that this is a world that essentially ended in 2009 and use it for a couple of solid jokes. We’re also given new types of zombies that have evolved over the last ten years. The effects look great and they go back to using the idea of putting text on the screen to illustrate the rules that Columbus has laid out in order to survive. It’s done in new and clever ways each time.
There are some things about this film that some people may not like, things that seem a bit too silly. For instance, when the movie starts our heroes have taken up residence in the White House. I can see how some people may find this idea absurd and over the top but it I found it kind of interesting. I mean think about it, if basically everyone else was dead why not go live some place that is heavily fortified, secure and comfortable? Later in the movie Columbus wears Elvis’ blue suede shoes and Tallahassee puts on one of the King’s sequined jumpsuits. Is it silly? Of course, but it’s also harmless and, again I ask, why not?
I feel like I have overused the word “fun” in describing the genre movies that have come out in the last few months but it’s the best word to describe Zombieland: Double Tap. This is a great popcorn movie. Yes, there might be some things that seem over the top or far fetched but if you’re able to set those things aside, turn your brain off, relax and have a good time, you will love this movie. Fans of Zombieland can rejoice because the spirit of the original film is alive and well.
WOULD I SURVIVE? On my own, it seems highly unlikely. I’ve always said that in the event of a zombie apocalypse, I give myself about 45 minutes. I’ll forget that the world is full of zombies and get eaten waiting for someone to take my order in the McDonald’s drive-thru. That’s just something that I know about myself. However, if I am part of the crew in this movie, I like my chances. Give me a group of people who know what needs to be done to survive and can tell me what to do and I’ll be golden. I can follow orders when absolutely necessary.