‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ blends comedy and ravenous corpses

By Parker Otto, Columnist

“Zombieland: Double Tap” is a thrill ride that has double the action, double the character and double the heart. It is a more than worthy sequel to the 2009 comedy-horror classic that evolves its characters and environment. 

The film takes place 10 years after the first film, and sees the survivor group of Columbus, Tallahassee, Little Rock and Wichita, played by Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harlson, Abigail Breslin and Emma Stone respectively, fighting zombies in a post-apocalyptic world. 

When Little Rock runs off with a pacifist named Berkley, played by Avan Jogia, the rest of the group goes on a cross country trip to find her, which sees them encounter other survivors and more powerful, resilient zombies, dubbed “T-800s” after the titular cyborg in “The Terminator.” 

The biggest asset of the film is the evolution of its protagonists. 10 years have passed since the events of “Zombieland,” as well as the film’s release in 2009. While the first film displays its characters as lone wolves brought together through circumstance, “Zombieland: Double Tap” has its characters acting more like a family – a dysfunctional, gun-toting, zombie-killing family. 

All of the actors have gone on to further critical acclaim since the first film’s release, with Emma Stone winning an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in “La La Land.” Seeing the actors come together a decade later is nothing short of Hollywood magic.

This is especially relevant for Little Rock, who was a 12-year-old girl in the first film and is now a young woman who wants to explore her more mature self, hence her running away. Columbus and Wichita’s romantic relationship is also given more analysis following their first kiss at the climax of the first film.

This kind of development is essential for sequels because it allows the viewer to distinguish “Zombieland: Double Tap” from its predecessor. If the characters never evolved, then seeing this film would be pointless. 

New characters are introduced as well, including the dim-witted Madison, played by Zoey Deutch, who acts as a “dumb blonde” stereotype and Nevada, played by Rosario Dawson, a hardened survivor living in an Elvis-themed hotel. These characters are very charming and add a level of realism to the film. It seems incredibly foolish to think the characters of the first film were Earth’s only survivors and seeing them finally interact with new people gives the film its own identity. 

The evolution of the zombies is a fresh update with different breeds of the flesh eating monsters including lazy “Homers,” brilliant “Hawkings” and the aforementioned “T-800s.” The latter act as the main antagonists and are more difficult to kill.

While most zombies take one shot in the head to kill with the titular “double tap” for good measure, these zombies require much more ammunition to take down, which poses a greater threat to survivors. 

The biggest setback the film possesses is its story, which feels without purpose until the confrontation between a large group of survivors, including the protagonists, and an army of zombies.

“Zombieland: Double Tap’s” plot meanders more than it should while the original film had a more tightly paced narrative. Thankfully, the already defined characters keep the audience’s interest and allow the viewer to overlook the subpar story. 

“Zombieland: Double Tap” contains enough new material to stand on its own while also continuing the story the original “Zombieland” established. It contains enough blood, gore and brains as well as a passionate atmosphere to keep any zombie fan content this Halloween season.