After 10 years, we’re invited to return to Zombieland, revisiting Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita, and Little Rock a few years after the end of the first movie with new zombies to hunt and a whole lot more little things to enjoy.
Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) sees the return of cast members Woody Harrelson (The People vs. Harry Flynt), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Abigail Breslin (Definitely Maybe), and Emma Stone (Easy A) reprising their roles from the first film with the likes of Rosario Dawson (Rent) and Zoey Deutch (Vampire Academy) joining the cast.
Some years after the events of the first film, Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita, and Little Rock find themselves spending some time in the White House where they stay semi-permanently for a few months. However, after Little Rock runs away from her overbearing father-figure Tallahassee and the rest to find a home of her own, the remaining members of the post-apocalyptic family must find their way across Z-land again in search of her, crossing paths with other zombie slayers, a hippie commune, and a new breed of zombie – the T-800.
The film continues to explore the uncharted reaches of Z-land, introducing new players into the game, as well as a brand new zombie that’s faster, stronger, and harder to kill.
Despite this, Zombieland: Double Tap doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of originality. It recycles much of what made the first film work without much thought for development. But that isn’t really a bad thing, at least in this case.
What should be a blatant rehashing of the original is, instead, a hilarious and satisfying sequel that takes the best parts of the first film and cracks the fun up to 11 while still sprinkling in some new thrills.
It reminds me of what 22 Jump Street (2014) did for 21 Jump Street (2012). Zombieland: Double Tap feeds off the same gore-y, tongue-in-cheek zombie comedy from before but adds onto it a heaping load of ironic, self-referential humor that only adds to the excitement and fun.
Even after 10 years, there’s absolutely no lost of chemistry between the cast (especially between Eisenberg and Harrelson), whose quick and wacky banter is the lifeblood of this undead comedy.
But even with everything it has going for it, the sequel only barely falls short of the original still, partly due to it being a virtual copy of it. However, the one thing it does hold above the original is its thrilling, spine-chilling final act. Despite also using similar beats to the original’s, it raises the stakes, pumps up the suspense, and kicks down the door when it comes to scale and ingenuity.
A lack of originality from the first film is both an asset and a flaw in the case of Zombieland: Double Tap. Despite it revisiting nearly the exact same formula and plot beats, it continues to feed off what made the original a cult classic in the first place.
Overall, Zombieland: Double Tap is just as funny, just as exciting, and just as violent as the first one. If you loved the 2009 original, you’ll love this one.