Tallahassee and the gang return

Back in 2009 a new film was released amidst all the other zombie movie that stood out. Instead of inspiring terror or fear, it encouraged laughter and feelings. The original Zombieland took the zombie genre and stood it on its head. Instead of running in terror we were introduced to a set of characters that learned to adapt to the zombie filled world and adapted, each in their own unique way. What followed turned into essentially a character story with the zombies shoved to the background. Ten years later we finally get the sequel. Here is my review for Zombieland: Double Tap.

A New Cast of Zombies

Columbus introduces us to the new and evolved zombies behind this movie. First off there is the absolutely stupid and worthless zombie one can completely ignore because it threatens no one. Watching their stupidity makes one go “Doh”! Naturally its a Homer (Simpson) zombie.

Then you have the “Hawkings” zombies. These zombies are smarter and faster than the old breeds. They tend to out think their prey and manipulate locks and puzzles.

The “ninja” zombies strike silently from the shadow. Their presence escapes detection until their on you with their teeth sunk in.

Finally you have the new breed that drives the story, the “T-800” zombie. They are stronger, faster and smarter than most, and are much harder to kill. Instead of a simple double tap to kill them, they often require extreme blunt force trauma, exacting shots or entire clips to take them down.

Zombieland: Double Tap – Paradise Lost

The film walks us forward a few months and picks up where the original basically left off. Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock hung together and decided to move into the White House. If you are going to live, live in style. The party and joking pick up immediately, but with all good things that go unchallenged, they grow old and mundane.

Wichita and Columbus break up when Columbus decides to break the rut by proposing. Little Rock, meanwhile, gets sick of the over protective and hovering Talahassee. The girls split off from the guys, which leaves Columbus devastated.

A month passes then the guys are joined by newcomer Madison played by Zoey Deutch. The blonde haired ditz weasels her way into the White House. Normally this would not be so bad except about this time, Wichita returns after being left by Little Rock for a hippie peace-neck. The quest to find Little Rock Begins.

Characters and Casting Make the Film

Zoey Deutch as Madison
Bright New Face. Well….not that bright.

As I said Zombieland: Double Tap is not your normal zombie movie. This movie is about characters and their interactions and that makes and breaks this film. The first film led to gut busting humor as we watched four different personalities attempt to assimilate themselves into their new group, and even accept the fact they were a new group. The original four of Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, and Jessie Eisenberg hold the same chemistry as the first film. The beginning has its funny moments to be sure, but it feels so much like the first that it grows old quickly. Nothing against this crew, but it needed something new and refreshing. They found it in Zoey Deutch.

From the second Madison steps into gunshot range, she dominates every scene she is in. Zoey takes the stupid blonde to a whole new level and leaves you laughing the whole way. The humor rests not only with her performance, but the other actors that have to interact with her.

Other Newbies Contribute as Well

Along with Zoey, the original cast is joined by Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson and Verizon talk man Thomas Middleditch, who all add flavor when their roles come up. Not only did their characters add to the story line, but they really added to the character study and development that drives this film.

There is one last character in this movie that also steals the scenes, especially around Tallahassee – the minivan. When Little Rock deprives Tallahassee of his beast, the group is forced to deal the only vehicle available in the form of a minivan. It becomes a running joke through out the film that remains quite entertaining.

Zombieland: Double Tap Is the Same Old Story

Perhaps the biggest downside to this sequel comes from the fact the story follows the same path as the first one did a decade ago. Most of the plot becomes very predictable from early on. There is one surprise. If one pays attention it is easy to predict what will happen, but otherwise its a good twist. This is where the film relies on its new cast members, especially Zoey to keep things light and funny.

Overall Zombieland: Double Tap is a fun and funny movie. I think it falls just short of the first installment, but it is always hard for a sequel to such a new and refreshing idea to live up to the original because it no longer has the benefit of being new. Still, if you enjoyed the first movie or are simply looking for something new, Zombieland: Double Tap is worth watching.

Don’t Get Murrayed

Also, for those wondering how Bill Murray could return for a sequel when he was killed in the original, hang in there. Columbus explains everything when the time is right. Of course Murray steals the show when its time.