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‘Zombieland Double Tap’ review


Zombieland Double Tap

Chuck Sipps, Arts and Life Editor

“Zombieland Double Tap,” the long awaited sequel to 2009’s “Zombieland,” is a serviceable film that neither surpasses or meets the expectations of the original. It feels at times like a film out of time as it is trying to recapture the zombie love that seems to have faded years ago. While it is fun to watch and there are some humorous moments, it doesn’t do much to stand out from the rest of the zombie-fare. 

Set 10 years after the events of the first film, we open with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) working together like a well-oiled machine. There are troubles in paradise however as Wichita and Columbus’ relationship has hit a rut, and Little Rock is tired of the overbearing Tallahassee and wants to find friends her own age. This leads to a split as Wichita and Little Rock leave the boys behind, only to have Little Rock abandon Wichita as well to travel with a guitar-playing pacifist survivor. Concerned for Little Rock’s safety, the trio reunites to save her.

Much like the original, “Double Tap” feels more like a series of vignettes supported loosely by an overarching narrative. There are some fun moments to be sure, but the glaring issue is that the inciting incident feels contrived. In fact, many character choices feel more like plot necessities rather than being natural choices made by the character. Despite the 10 years that have passed, it would seem that these characters haven’t changed at all. Are we really expected to believe that after 10 years of bonding and companionship that these characters would just go their separate ways? The choice doesn’t work and it feels like an excuse to justify the group splintering.

“Double Tap” also suffers from a lack of surprises and originality. This probably has to do with how much exposure the zombie genre has had in recent years. While it’s fun to see the cast’s obvious chemistry on-screen, it never feels like there are any stakes. These zombies have no teeth in terms of danger, and though the zombies are developing new and dangerous adaptations, this threat, while mentioned by several characters, is never fully realized on screen.

There are plenty of callbacks to the original film, some of which land better than others. There are some new additions to the proceedings, with Zoey Deutch’s Madison. Madison isn’t the brightest bulb and as Tallahassee says, “She’s only alive because zombies eat brains and she hasn’t got any.” While Deutch plays the role well, it is obvious from her introduction the part she would play in the narrative. That is ultimately the film’s fatal flaw – its predictability.

“Zombieland Double Tap” is an uneven journey with some fun sprinkled throughout. The cast plays well together and each of the core four gives it their all. If you can manage to turn off your brain you might just survive this zombie flick. 

“Zombieland Double Tap” is awarded 73 potatoes on the Sipps’ Potato Scale.