I remember watching Zombieland in the theater a decade ago. More specifically, I remember feeling like I was watching something new and different back then. The cool way words and letters were used on‐screen, the sarcastic but smart humor, and the chemistry between the four leads all led to a surprisingly great movie about an undead uprising. Looking back now, it’s pretty amazing that of those four leads — Woody Harrelson (Tallahassee), Jesse Eisenberg (Columbus), Abigail Breslin (Little Rock) and Emma Stone (Wichita) — Stone was the least well known. Now she’s an A‐list Oscar winner and was the highest‐paid actress in the world in 2017. What else has changed in all those years?
In the post‐apocalyptic hellscape these characters inhabit, not much. The foursome is still together, and they are still fighting off zombies. However, they’ve finally settled into their new normal as a slightly dysfunctional but loving family and are actually living in the White House, of all places. Until Little Rock acts like the rebellious young adult she now is and decides to run off with a hippie (Avan Jogia, who is most excellent in his role). Tallahassee and Wichita are enraged and worried, and eventually decide to go after her. Along for the ride are Columbus and his recent hookup Madison (Zoey Deutch), who has survived this long thanks to dumb luck, quite literally. Since Columbus and Wichita had been an item before Madison came along, it makes for quite the uncomfortable road trip. But there are bigger things to worry about. Like the fact that certain zombies seem to be evolving into Terminator‐ish creatures that are nearly impossible to kill.
While they’re chasing down Little Rock, the crew meets a few new and notable characters, including a hotelier near Graceland (Rosario Dawson), and a duo played by Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch who look and act suspiciously like Tallahassee and Columbus. While I enjoyed the addition of these three survivors, Deutch’s airheaded Madison grated on my nerves from the moment she was introduced.
The four leads thankfully still had that same great chemistry, and it looked like Harrelson was having the time of his life playing Tallahassee once again, which made me weirdly happy. I also have to admit that there was something oddly satisfying about watching Emma Stone annihilate a ton of zombies — like, even though she’s an Oscar winner now she’s not above doing this sequel so that means we could still totally be BFFs in real life because she’s obviously such a normal person. (Right?)
But while Zombieland: Double Tap is an acceptable way to pass a few hours, returning director Ruben Fleischer and screenwriters Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and David Callaham couldn’t save the film from falling victim to the usual issue with sequels. Meaning, it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Proof: the funniest part of the film is directly connected to the funniest part of the original film from a decade ago … and you have to wait until the end credits for it.
However, sometimes it’s OK to get exactly what you expect out of a movie. And Zombieland: Double Tap was exactly what I thought it would be — nothing more, nothing less. Chances are if you enjoyed the first film, you’ll still find it worth your time to drop into the zombie apocalypse again and see this great cast having a ball.
Need to refresh your memory? Zombieland is back at the Box.