Shaun of the Dead will always be the definitive zombie comedy but Zombieland was a fine runner-up when it arrived in 2009 with a louder, dumber but still fun take on the genre. 10 years later, the original crew is back and Zombieland is more dangerous but mostly just as fun.
The main quartet of Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) have continued to roam across what remains of the US a few years after the first movie (I don’t believe it’s a full decade like the actual time between movies) and, at the beginning of the movie, decide to try and take up permanent residence in The White House. Tallahassee and Columbus eventually drive the girls away with their overbearing attention and Little Rock subsequently runs off from Wichita with a boy after a month back on the road, Berkeley (Avan Jogia), a douchey hippie/musician. Wichita heads back to The White House to find that Columbus has a new “girlfriend”, Madison (Zoey Deutch), a ditzy, stereotypical dumb blonde that the guys found living in an abandoned mall. The motley crew heads out on the road to find Little Rock and the rest of the movie is just various hi-jinks and setpieces on the road, pretty much exactly like the first movie just with the new characters adding some fresh dynamics. The plot of the movie is really just a barebones skeleton to hang jokes and set pieces on.
The zombies have evolved in the last few years into various different versions, like dim-witted Homers and lightning-fast Ninjas but that idea never really feels fully fleshed out except for jokes involving the Homers killing themselves in amusing ways. There’s ultimately a threat from “T-800s” zombies that are almost impossible to kill but even those just kind of turn into generic zombies by the end. Most of the style flourishes from the first movie are back, including Columbus’ rules popping up on screen whenever they get mentioned or the “Zombie Kill of the Week/Year” where it cuts to a random survivor performing an over the top takedown of a zombie or zombies. The movie is also extremely meta, possibly even more so than the first movie, probably best exemplified by the extended sequence where Tallahassee and Columbus meet their doppelgangers played by Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch.
The cast is as great as ever and the main quartet has fantastic, easy chemistry that lends itself to extended sequences where it just feels like they are hanging out and riffing and all the new characters are great as well, especially Zoey Deutch, who fully commits to the dim-wittedness of her character. She has lots of great scene-stealing lines, including a great bit that involves her basically inventing Uber and the rest of the gang dismissing it as something that would never work. The aforementioned Avan Jogia, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch and Rosario Dawson as Nevada are all great as well and provided some fun new dynamics to the established group.
Zombieland: Double Tap really doesn’t add too much new to the formula set up by the first movie but if you enjoyed the first movie, you’ll like this one as well. The cast is still great and has fun chemistry and there’s plenty of wacky and brutal zombie killing as well.