The first Zombieland brought some humor back to the suddenly very serious zombie genre. It’s group of core characters resonated with audiences, and though it wasn’t scary, it put our heroes in a threatening world. Most importantly was that it was fun. A sequel was immediately green-lit, but the writers had difficulty getting it off of the ground; add in a little bit of time, and all of a sudden Emma Stone and Jessie Eisenberg are stars and no longer readily available. Then even more time passed, and the zombie genre’s hold on audiences began to fade. Now comes Double Tap ten years later, and while I can’t say this sequel really adds anything, it doesn’t do any damage to the first film either. If you’re walking into Double Tap with a decade’s worth of hype, I’d wager you’ll be disappointed; if your’re walking in hoping to be entertained enough for a Friday night, it should do just fine.
Though ten years have passed, very little has changed. Well, at least for three out of our four characters. Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) is still sarcastic; Wichita (Emma Stone) is still…uh…sarcastic; her and Columbus (Jessie Eisenberg) are very much opposites, but together nonetheless; Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), however, has changed. She’s no longer a kid and wishes to find someone to date, and finds Tallahassee overbearing. She eventually splits from the group, running off with Berkeley (Avan Jogia), a hippie survivor that wants to take her to a non-violent haven where people party all day and night. The film’s plot is essentially the other three characters trying to track her down.
Plot-wise, they could’ve done a whole lot better, especially with ten years to come up with something. There’s an interlude where the trio stumble upon Graceland, or what’s left of it, and run into some other survivors played by Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson, and Thomas Middleditch; zombie killing ensues, but it does little to further the narrative. I did enjoy the addition of Madison (Zoey Deutch), a ditsy blonde who has somehow managed to survive in a mall for years. I liked her character’s dynamic with the other members of the group, and found that her scenes kept making me smile. The zombies have changed a little bit too, some evolving to become harder to kill; they’re dubbed “T-800’s” by Columbus. It’s the kind of thing a sequel like this should do; unfortunately it never really amounts to much.
What’s important though is that the film retains the charm of it’s predecessor, which thanks to its actors, it does. I didn’t like that Little Rock was separated from the group, but I appreciated all of the time we get with Tallahassee, Columbus and Wichita. Whenever another character, save Madison, is the focal point of a scene, I found that the film loses its zing. Tallahassee and Columbus are similar to the kind of roles that Harrelson and Eisenberg consistently find themselves in, so they’re perfect. Emma Stone remains the beacon of light that she was in the first film, but never outshines anyone. Breslin gets far less to do, and never feels like she gets back into the rhythm of her character, which isn’t her fault. Zoey Deutch could have made Madison incredibly annoying, and she is, but she’s also sweet when it matters.
The Zombie kills aren’t as good as the last time out, though one of them, labeled “Zombie Kill of The Year,” made me laugh out loud. The film also has fun breaking the fourth wall, whether it’s introducing characters that look and act like replicated versions of Tallahassee and Columbus, or having the group laugh at Madison for coming up with an idea that sounds exactly like Uber. Some may find these jokes too broad, but I had fun with them
I found the movie’s action climax to be pretty lackluster, though a sequence in the middle of the film that pretends to be shot in one take is quite cool. Overall, Double Tap feels like it’s missing a few things, but I suppose I enjoyed it enough to recommend. I liked getting to spend more time with these characters, and I’d do it all over again in ten years…just with a better story.