ELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times
A few months ago I was at home indulging in a lazy Sunday afternoon and was looking for something to watch on Netflix and during that quest, I came across the 2009 movie “Zombieland,” which followed a group of strangers (portrayed by Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) taking an extended road trip looking for sanctuary from a recent zombie apocalypse. I ended up thoroughly surprised and entertained by the movie so when I heard earlier this year that there would be a sequel, I was wary but also somewhat excited (I have a bit of a bias against sequels, I freely admit it). So this weekend I made the trek to the movie theater in town to see how “Zombieland: Double Tap” would end up.
“Zombieland: Double Tap” takes place 10 years later with zombies still being an issue for our main quad as they’ve evolved. And much like with its predecessor, I ended up being entertained and surprised by what I saw.
The first thing that deserves praise is the cast. The full cast from the first film (Harrelson, Eisenberg, Stone and Breslin) returns for this time around and it almost doesn’t feel like it’s been 10 years since the first movie because the chemistry between everyone is still that good. The contrast between Eisenberg’s and Harrelson’s characters Columbus and Tallahassee is still funny and provides plenty of laughs for everyone, and Stone and Breslin have great chemistry as sisters Wichita and Little Rock. And the entire group plays off each other to make the humor flow easily, making for a fun watch. The most major addition to the cast was Zooey Deutch as Madison, a ditzy blonde who has survived the zombie apocalypse by living in a Pinkberry freezer. Her character is, admittedly, the one meant to be the most annoying throughout the movie, but she plays it so well and is able to keep up that energy throughout the entire movie, which was great, and she’s got great comedic timing. The only complaint I would have on this front is I wish they would have given Breslin more to with Little Rock besides just being a sullen teenager. She does a great job with her role, but I wish she would have had a little more to do with it.
Something else that need to be talked about with this movie is the makeup design, especially with the zombies because it’s done very well with everyone and makes you believe you’re actually watching someone who has been turned into a zombie with rotted skin and rotted everything else, so a ton of credit needs to go to the makeup team because they did an amazing job.
Another thing I really liked about the movie is just how much fun it is. It never tries to make itself look like a serious drama or anything, it is very honest about being a comedy about killing zombies. There’s been some conversation in Hollywood lately about what is “true” cinema (which I find so pretentious, but that’s a whole different conversation) and this movie simply aims to be entertainment and wants to make the audience laugh for a couple of hours. I love that attitude toward it and I feel like with a more lighthearted attitude, that actually made the performances better and let everyone really let their comedic sides come out since here wasn’t as much pressure.
Another thing I liked about the story is how it explores more the father-daughter relationship between Tallahassee and Little Rock – part of the story is about Tallahassee not really wanting to realize Little Rock has grown up and will want to leave the nest, which is a feeling I think every parent has as their child prepares to leave home for the first time. And the best thing about that is how there’s no melodrama surrounding that part of the story, it’s portrayed in the same way the average person would deal with such a situation, and it’s done very well.
Something I would also want to add is I would urge parents out there to not let children see this movie. The deaths of the zombies (and those affected by said zombies) are extremely gruesome and feature a lot of gore and other things that could turn your stomach – and it all starts in the first scene of the movie, so this is definitely NOT a suitable one for younger viewers.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie and I felt it was a good one to watch since it’s still within the Halloween season, so I would give it an overall “B” grade. I really liked the remaining chemistry among the original cast and how it extended to the new members for this time around, and the makeup for the zombies was done very, very well. There are only a few minor gripes I had with the movie, with the biggest one (if you can consider it big) being I wish this sequel had actually been made earlier instead of making the fanbase wait a decade. If you enjoy zombie movies and/or are a fan of the original “Zombieland” movie, there’s a good chance you will enjoy seeing everyone back together for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” The movie’s rated R for bloody violence, language throughout, some drug and sexual content.