Looking back, Zombieland has to be one of the movies I watched the most when I was younger. Everything about it predicted my favorite types of films, exceedingly violent and darkly comedic, as well as films that are very meta. Before The Walking Dead, but long after the late George A. Romero’s Living Dead series, Zombieland is one of those films that never gets very old for me. Beyond the blood and undead entrails, Zombieland is a family road trip film in line with National Lampoon’s Vacation. If nothing else, The sequel, “Zombieland: Double Tap” keeps that theme, and expands on it like a great sequel should.
The basic gist of “Double Tap” is that the protagonists of the first film, Columbus, Little Rock, Wichita, and Tallahassee (portrayed by the dynamite group of Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone and Woody Harrelson) are still surviving. Ten years into the zombie apocalypse, they’re living in the White House of all places. Their names are their hometowns, a way to keep emotional distance. However, Little Rock abandons ship to run away with the wonderfully unlikable and cringeworthy character of Berkley (Avan Jogia), a peace-loving hippie type.
The first, most obvious positive of this film is the cast. The main four are still just as likable as they were in the first film, and the expanded cast is also excellent, particularly Rosario Dawson’s character Nevada, and Zoey Deutch’s Madison. Nevada serves as a romantic interest for the perpetually badass loner Tallahassee, and Madison is an annoyance to all the other characters, bouncing off perfectly with other cast members, especially Stone and Harrelson. Honestly, out of all the characters, Deutch’s was the best. I expected Madison to be annoying but she ended up being the exact opposite, a breath of fresh air mixing up the big four and their usual banter, improving it overall for the better.
As for the comedy, it isn’t constantly laugh-out-loud constantly. Instead, I had a grin on my face 99% of the runtime, without a single joke that really made me groan. I am a sappy dude, and I loved the emotional resonance this film has. It has depth, particularly with Columbus and Wichita’s sub-plot, and seeing the characters interacting again gave me a few chills.
Overall, looking past my nostalgia and recency bias for these characters, I see “Zombieland: Double Tap” as quite possibly a superior sequel. It feels natural continuing the story, and it expands on what the original did so well. It was more than welcome to see those characters after a decade, and I really hope there are more of these characters down the road. This film is full of laughs and heart, and for the sappy guy that loves some violence and comedy mixed together, that is exactly what I paid for, and then some.
Edited by Jessica Galvin, Adam White, Jackson Woods