Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

Zombieland Double Tap teaser poster.jpgDirector: Ruben Fleischer
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Rating: 15
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch

It's hard to believe there was a time where zombies weren't everywhere. Before we were hit by the zombie boom, best exemplified through The Walking Dead beginning its unending run, Ruben Fleischer gave audiences a comedic take on the zombie genre. Released in 2009, Zombieland was a breath of fresh air which came out at the perfect time. A decade later, and one failed pilot largely forgotten about, the sequel has arrived. The landscape has changed for the zombie subgenre, and what's arrived feels too little, too late.

As the zombie apocalypse rages on, the make-shift family that is Tallahassee, Colombus, Wichita, and Little Rock (Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin) have to contend with other survivors, and evolved zombies. They decide to fortify themselves, and decide to go big, as they arrive at the White House. It's here that it dawns upon viewers, Barack Obama was the last serving President of the United States in this world, and a landscape ravaged by the undead is starting to look preferable.

If you've arrived for this decade later sequel, then you're likely to have seen the 2009 original film. In which case, you'll have already seen this film, as it's just a lacklustre version of the same film. Original screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have returned to this world, credited on the screenplay alongside Dave Callaham, and there seems to be a sense of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". The same jokes and lines have been reused, with Colombus' rules reappearing many times throughout. It doesn't feel like a reminder of what previously worked, but more like the film is nudging you in the ribs and asking if you remember that, over and over again. Not helping are the glaring returns, lacking explanation or logic, as characters and items pop-up at specific moments for dramatic heft, in spite of how unlikely it ultimately is.

The years may have passed by, but if you're going by the characters, you'd be forgiving for not realising this. None of the characters have changed over the past decade, there's no sense of progression, and it just feels the 10 year gap feel less likely. It's worth mentioning that the films best moments are about the little family the main quartet has formed, as their chemistry remains as lovable and believable as it was in the first film. The newest addition to the group is Zoey Deutch as Madison, who's clearly having a ball in playing the air-head blonde, even if the script could give her more to work with.

From the opening moments, a cool idea is attempted, with how the zombies have evolved with the passage of time. It's a darn shame nothing is done with the idea, as four distinctive types of zombies are introduced, and we only see half of them appear outside of the introduction. One is a pop-culture comparison done for the same lame gag, and the other is to drag out the film by a few more seconds, because they're just a little more tough to kill.

As the first film felt at home as a precursor to the zombie genre resurgance in popularity, this sequel feels at home when the sub-genre feels overly saturated and tired. It all feels so uninspired and lacking, with the time even taken to lift the "running into a similar cast" gag which Shaun of The Dead perfected 15 years prior. It all builds to a conclusion and a message which mirrors the first film, and ends up feeling like such a pointless endeavour. There's also a mid-credits scene which you're welcome to watch, but in my opinion, it's not worth your time.