Call it what you will, but Zombieland: Double Tap never sits still.
A sequel 10 years in the making, here is a movie – just like its predecessor – which lives or dies on the chemistry of its rag-tag characters.
For fans of the original, many will certainly be left satisfied as the foursome of Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin return reprising their key roles.
Older, and perhaps wiser, the gang have taken up residence at the now abandoned White House. However, the group dynamic has frayed with time, too. Breslin’s Gen Z character Little Rock yearns for people her own age. Elsewhere, the domesticated romance between Columbus (Eisenberg) and Wichita (Stone) has hit a dry spell. Only the hardened soul of Tallahassee (Harrelson) remains in tact as the film naturally kicks into high gear leading its protagonists on, once again, a zombie-fueled road trip.
That in mind, this time around it’s the introduction of new characters that truly leaves a mark, enlivening the self-aware ghoulish mayhem from repeating itself into mediocrity.
Through a mixture of screenplay and performance, Zoey Deutsch’s Madison – a ditzy blonde who found refuge in a mall throughout the zombie apocalypse – arguably delivers the film best laughs (and some wry tension) as Eisenberg’s new love interest.
Nearly as hilarious, yet equally economic with their screen time, are Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch as survivalist doppelgängers to Harrelson and Eisenberg’s characters. Mirroring their mannerisms and stereotypes to full effect, the interaction between all four is a clever sub-plot amidst the flesh eating chaos.
With director Ruben Fleischer back again at the helm, the film’s brisk 93-minute runtime can not be overstated. Stuffed with inventive kills, sardonic humour, and generous doses of pop culture reference points, Zombieland: Double Tap is escapist and short enough to warrant this long gestating sequel a success.