It’s been a decade since “Zombieland” hit first theaters, but now the horror-comedy returns with a sequel as if back from the dead.
To be clear, the 2009 zombie flick needed no sequel.
“Zombieland” was led by a then-mid-twenties Jesse Eisenberg, playing the nerdy and social-stunted Columbus alongside Woody Harrelson’s butt-kicking, Twinkie-driven Tallahassee.
Beyond its delightfully-gratuitous gore, the movie explores the trials of love in a post-apocalyptic world as Columbus meets Emma Stone’s Wichita, who he quickly falls for, and her younger sister, Abigail Breslin’s Little Rock.
It’s action-packed, sweet, and serves as a uniquely American answer to the 2004 zomedy classic “Shaun of the Dead.”
Now, Eisenberg and the rest of the cast are 10 years older, and we pick up the story a few years after the events of the first movie with “Zombieland: Double Tap.”
Now, I approach any sequel with apprehension.
It’s so easy to take the easy route, and, I have to be honest, “Double Tap” does just that. Where do you go after you get a clean finish to a love story? Surprise, surprise. There’s trouble in paradise.
But instead of just rehashing the now decade-old jokes of “Zombieland,” we’re met with new characters and the world gets bigger.
The newbies are caricatures to be sure, and I won’t say they’re entirely unproblematic—but it’s exciting to see that, now, the greatest threat in the world after Z-day isn’t just zombies. It’s people.
What makes a zombie movie great isn’t just the battle between the living and the dead. It’s the way people are thrown together, for better or for worse, and have to re-learn who they are in relation to their world.
“Double Tap” takes this story to the next level.
We see real character development and hard choices and, yes, it’s still very funny.
In particular, Harrelson delivers a stellar performance as we see Tallahassee begin to grow into his role as a father-figure, and we finally get to see Breslin take center stage as the now-older Little Rock begins to look for life beyond their small cohort.
And we get plenty more of the violent slapstick we got in the first.
Did “Zombieland” need a sequel? Probably not.
Was “Double Tap” still a blast? You bet.
Look, let’s be real. This is a zomedy, not high-brow Oscar bait. You’re here for blood, guts and humor, and this movie delivers.
Rotten Tomatoes only gave it a 66, compared to “Zombieland”s 90, but I think that’s selling the movie short.
I give it 8 Twinkies out of 10.