Zombieland: Double Tap
zombieland | zombieland: double tap | ruben fleischer | dave callaham | rhett reese | paul wernick | woody harrelson | jesse eisenberg | emma stone | zombie | zombies | action | comedy | united states | abigail breslin | zoey deutch | avan jogia | rosario dawson | luke wilson
Film: Zombieland: Double Tap
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writer: Dave Callahm, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone
I’ll be honest I really liked the original when it came out. It was a sweet spot for me at the end of college, I came around to enjoying horror comedies a bit more and zombies is a sub-genre I have a lot of love for when it is done right. This film I remember being talked about almost immediately after the original and it seems to have been in developmental hell since then. I did find it weird that it finally got made and released a decade after the original. This review is also being updated after a second viewing with Jaime. The synopsis is Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock move to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors and the growing pains of the snarky makeshift family.
This one starts off showing us that we are getting more of what we did in the original, but it introduces something new that the zombies are evolving. We get to learn the different types and how some are smarter than others. Columbus is narrating this to us and reveals what their plan was, to hold up in the White House and create a semblance of normalcy. The crew is getting under each other’s skin though. Tallahassee is playing father figure to Little Rock and she doesn’t like it. She’s also lonely for a boyfriend. Columbus asks Wichita to marry him and she freaks out. This causes the two ladies to flee and only leaving a note.
Columbus is saddened and in turn making Tallahassee mad, forcing him to listen to it. Things take a turn when they find Madison (Zoey Deutch) who’s been living in a cooler inside of a local mall. She’s been alone for years and immediately clings to Columbus. This gets awkward when Wichita returns because Little Rock met Berkeley (Avan Jogia) and ran away with him. This infuriates Tallahassee, who’s been itching to get back on the road, even more now to save her. It also makes for an interesting dynamic with Columbus, Madison and Wichita.
Their journey takes them in the direction of Graceland where they meet Nevada (Rosario Dawson), Albuquerque (Luke Wilson) and Flagstaff (Thomas Middleditch). It also brings them to a new zombie that is stronger, faster and harder to kill than the ones they’ve encountered along the way.
My initial thought on this one when I saw that it was being released is that they might have waited too long. It does create issues for me as someone who really focuses on story. In a comedy like this, I don’t really expect them to go too much into the ins and outs of their survival. To its advantage we know this takes place after Zombieland, but we don’t know how long. If they were on the road for 10 years, what did they do for food? Eventually that’s going to be an issue. If it hasn’t been that long, Little Rock has grown up quite a bit, being how young she was in the original. It just kind of creates an issue that I would think about. Again, being that it is a comedy, they gloss over this.
I didn’t hate it though. I will admit that I had a few drinks before going to see it the first time and I actually laughed more than I thought I was going to. A lot of that is there’s something about Tallahassee’s character that just makes me laugh. Columbus has his awkward moments that resonate with me and I like Wichita’s sarcasm. I do like they introduced new characters here as well, so that definitely keeps it fresh. Madison is annoying and Berkley is so pretentious. I think that it works though as we don’t really connect with them or at least I didn’t.
My problem really with the movie though is just that it feels like the same as the original, just tweaking things here and there. I know that as fans, if you like the original, then you should want the sequel do exactly what this one is doing. That becomes though, when there’s other similar films out there doing the comedy thing, just better. That’s my way of saying I liked it, but that it just didn’t do a lot for me.
I will take this to the pacing, which if you’ve read my reviews, you know that horror comedies usually struggling in this aspect for me. Much like this one, I’m never worried about our core four being in trouble. I did like they introduced characters and then let them die, so we at least get a bit of that. I like some of the places they go to, it helps us learn more about the characters. I wasn’t the biggest fan of how this plays out in the third act. The love story of Columbus and Wichita did work for me though, as it does seem years in the making. The idea of this place Babylon is interesting and I think there’s an allegory there. Going along with this, there is some really good writing with things that Tallahassee says that plays into what they do in the end.
Shifting to the acting, this is something I can’t talk down on. Harrelson is hilarious and fits this role perfectly. Eisenberg works as the nerdy guy, who is overthinking this and let’s be honest, would probably be me when the zombie apocalypse happens. I absolutely love Stone and think she fits her character perfectly as well. Breslin is solid and I like that since she’s grown up in this new world, she’s a bit naïve and wants more since she never experienced it. Deutch is a fun addition and makes for some really good comedy, but she is quite annoying. I like the cameos of Dawson, Wilson and Middleditch as well. They and the rest of the cast rounded this out for what was needed.
To the effects of this film, I do know there’s a blend of CGI and practical. I’ll start with what I like which are the practical effects. The zombies look good. I have to give credit there. This one doesn’t play it up as much as the previous one as none of the make-up stood out and we don’t get as distinct looking zombies. I really didn’t have any issues with the CGI either. They don’t overdo it aside from the ending sequence, but that’s really the only place where I was rolling my eyes. They did bring back the floating words from the first one as well. At first I didn’t want that, but it didn’t bother me as we got into this. I thought that it worked with the rules, as that is funny. It didn’t with the opening credits as what we’re seeing on the screen interacts with it. That didn’t work in my opinion. They can be clever with it. It was shot very well overall.
Now with that said, if you like the original I think you’ll probably enjoy this one as well. It doesn’t really do a whole lot new, but they did change and add things to at least make it feel a little bit different. I like they got the core cast back together and added some fun new ones here. Being that it’s a comedy, it doesn’t really build the tension that I would like and I didn’t care for the ending. I didn’t have any issues with the effects though, either the practical or the CGI. The soundtrack didn’t really stand out to me, but it did fit for what was needed. Overall I’d say this is above average. It’s not great, but it is enjoyable and I did laugh quite a few times.
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10