Review: ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’: Worth the ten-year wait

Christopher Kelly, news staff

“Zombieland: Double Tap” is the long-awaited sequel to the cult classic “Zombieland” that hit theaters a decade ago. The main cast of mismatched survivors and their travels throughout post-apocalyptic America was a booming success after the initial release of “Zombieland” in 2009. The light-hearted and charming story brought levity to the zombie-apocalypse genre, which was bogged down by serious stories for years. “Zombieland: Double Tap” is a return to form as it brings the comedic elements and fun action scenes that the original excelled at.

The cast includes Academy Award-nominated actors Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin and Academy Award-winning Emma Stone returning to the roles of Columbus, Tallahassee, Little Rock and Wichita respectively. The sequel follows the characters after a decade has passed in their own universe and is a perfect transition from the original. It feels as though they walked off the set in 2009 straight into the sequel. The chemistry between this would-be family and their struggles with each other are just as present as they were in “Zombieland.”

Interestingly, the lack of character development since the original actually feels appropriate in this movie. Columbus is still struggling to get Wichita to be with him, and Tallahassee and Little Rock still have a touching teacher-student relationship. However, it was the new characters who brought some of the film’s best moments. Zoey Deutch as ditzy yoga girl Madison defied my expectations of being a one-track, annoying tagalong character by offering some funny lines and interactions with the main cast. The same goes for Avan Jogia’s portrayal of the peace-loving hippie Berkeley and the journey he takes with Little Rock throughout the film. 

There are a few messy parts of this film that make it not shine as brightly as “Zombieland” did when it first came out. There is an entire subplot about different types of zombies becoming more dangerous and causing a greater threat to the cast, but it never grew into anything more than that. The first movie handled zombies just fine, but this one added a layer of complexity for no real reason other than a few cutaway jokes. It didn’t feel like the stakes were raised any more than they had been in the past, so I was disappointed that so much screen time was dedicated to this. However, the inclusion of these new ultra-dangerous zombies did allow for one of the best action sequences in the film. So, this otherwise-pointless subplot could be justifiable if you just enjoy the mindless fun. 

In all, I feel as though the main purpose of this sequel is for the fans first and foremost. The original film’s fan base begged for a sequel for years simply because they wanted to see their favorite characters return to the big screen and have some fun — not because they cared to see it win any Oscars. If you want a solid sequel to a fantastic zombie movie, or just a simple but entertaining flick, look no further than “Zombieland: Double Tap.”