Zombieland: Double Tap starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone, Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutsch

Image Source: 'IMDb.com'

Movie: Zombieland: Double Tap

Production Companies: Columbia Pictures, 2.0 Entertainment, Pariah

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Producer: Gavin Polone

Scriptwriters: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, David Callaham

Main Cast: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone, Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutsch

Release Date: October 18th 2019 (US)

Running Time: 99 minutes

Certificate: 15

Introduction

Now mainly because I haven’t seen Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and the fact I’ve already reviewed Zombieland, why not review the sequel? Released to moderately positive reactions from audiences, Zombieland: Double Tap wasn’t ever going to make waves but it did do a serviceable job for fans of the original. So, without further ado here is my review of the film.

Synopsis

Five years on from the first film, Columbus (Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Harrelson), Wichita (Stone) and Little Rock (Breslin) have moved into the abandoned White House. Besides discovering three new zombie strains (Homers, Ninjas and Hawkings), Columbus proposes to Wichita with the Hope Diamond. Tallahassee also rebuffs Little Rock’s desire to find people her own age. Unsurprisingly, the men wake up to a letter from the girls saying how they feel too repressed/attached to the men. Oh, they also took Tallahassee’s modified limousine: The Beast.

When Columbus met Madison

A month later, Tallahassee and Columbus are exploring a shopping centre when they run into another survivor: Madison (Deutsch) Much to Tallahassee’s horror, Columbus invites her back to the White House, where the two proceed to have sex. Oh, Wichita returns the next day and discovers Columbus had sex with Madison. Awkward… Anyway, she reveals Little Rock ended up falling in love with a pacifist who is heading for Graceland. Fearing for her safety, the group (including Madison) pursue her in a rundown minivan.

The battle for the RV

Eventually, the gang try to switch vehicles to an abandoned RV and have to fight a horde of zombies. During the fight, Madison appears to get bit on the leg but Columbus saves her. More worryingly, the last zombie to be killed takes more bullets than other zombies. This leads Columbus to nickname them T-800s. Wonder what franchise that’s a reference to. Anyway, the group are forced to retreat back to the minivan. However, Madison begins showing signs of zombification so the group pull over in order for Columbus to shoot her in the woods. 

When Tallahassee met Nevada and the Beast

Finally the gang arrives at Graceland only to find it destroyed and the Beast nowhere to be seen. Devastated, they drive further down the road where they find the Beast outside of an Elvis themed hotel. To the shock of everyone who’s ever watched a zombie film, they meet another survivor: Nevada (Dawson) Conveniently she saw Little Rock and her partner abandon the Beast and take another vehicle to Babylon, a hippy community. After bonding over Elvis, Tallahassee and Nevada spend the night together.

The arrival (and death) of Albuquerque and Flagstaff

Unfortunately, Tallahassee awakens the next morning to find the Beast crushed under the wheels of a massive monster truck. Naturally, because this is a zombie film the drivers, Albuquerque and Flagstaff, turn out to be Nevada’s friends. Whilst Tallahassee and Columbus argue with the newcomers, a swarm of T-800 zombies start running up the driveway. And because of sheer one upmanship, Albuquerque and Flagstaff take on the horde on their own… which goes well. Both end up becoming zombies who are killed by Tallahassee and Columbus and then hit the road towards Babylon.

Madison returns and arriving at Babylon

Just as Wichita and Columbus are having an intimate conversation about their relationship, guess who should turn up? It’s Madison! Instead of being zombified she just had a really bad allergic reaction… which looked the same as becoming a zombie. Right… Anyway, the group finally arrive at Babylon and begrudgingly surrender their weapons and find Little Rock. Tallahassee, now satisfied, leaves… only to come across a horde of T-800 zombies moving towards Babylon. Why? Because of the fireworks. After warning everyone, Tallahassee comes up with a Fred style plan to trap the zombies and lure them to their deaths. Yep, I’ve got Scooby Doo jokes.

The plan fails(?)

Unfortunately, the plan falls apart when: the horde is bigger than expected, the biodiesel used to burn the zombies has no effect and the group gets surrounded. Until, swerve! Nevada shows up in Albuquerque’s monster truck and runs over several zombies. However, soon the truck gets overturned and the group are forced to escape to higher ground. Eventually, Tallahassee leads the zombies off the edge of Babylon’s tower by jumping onto a massive crane hook.

The gang makeups

However, two zombies grab onto his leg… until Little Rock shoots them with the gun Tallahassee gave her earlier. The pair reconcile while Wichita accepts Columbus’s marriage proposal. Also, Little Rock breaks up with her boyfriend who then gets with Madison. The original quartet, plus Nevada, leaves Babylon with Columbus remarking they have found their family in each other.

A mid credits scene reveals Bill Murray being interviewed by Al Roker in 2009 at the start of the outbreak. Murray witnesses Roker become a zombie and kills him and several other zombies before escaping. And if that’s not enough Bill Murray, a post credit scene shows him making the crew laugh because of him coughing up a hairball. Get it? Garfield jokes….

Analysis

Character Appearances in Zombieland: Double Tap

To begin my analysis of Zombieland: Double Tap, I’m going to discuss the way characters just appear in order to affect the story. What are some examples of this in the film? Well, how did Albuquerque and Flagstaff just so happen to know Nevada and be in the same place as Tallahassee and Columbus in a zombie apocalypse? Umm, no idea. However, while it might end up setting up a funny comparison of rules between Columbus and Flagstaff and a battle of the egos between Albuquerque and Tallahassee it really serves little purpose in the overall narrative.

The only thing I can think of that comes out of these meetings is Nevada using their monster truck to attack the zombie horde at Babylon. Another example of this is coincidentally about Nevada. This is mostly due to the fact the percentage chance of finding someone else ,who is a massive Elvis fan during an apocalypse, that close to Graceland? I know I’m being nit-picky however this does have some narrative significance. One is that it sets up Tallahassee and Nevada as a pairing and two it pays off a plot point from Zombieland. The plot point in particular is Columbus accidentally killing Bill Murray. However, that feels more like the exception that proves the rule rather than anything else.

Special Effects and Makeup in Zombieland: Double Tap

Continuing my analysis of Zombieland: Double Tap, I’m going to discuss the special effects and makeup used for the zombification. And what better example of this than Madison’s ‘zombification?’ The film shows Madison slowly swelling up in the face with pink, bloodshot eyes in stark contrast to her blonde hair. This use of makeup works because of two main things. The first is the intended gross out effect on the audience due to the revolting nature of the zombification.

So, what is the second? The way the makeup is used on Madison helps the audience feel sympathy for her, depending on how you feel about her character. Also, makeup can only get so far without the actor contributing, so props to Zoey Deutsch who really makes you feel sympathy for Madison. Another good example of special effects in Zombieland: Double Tap is the actual zombies themselves. Again, the main purpose of the special effects is to gross out the audience as well as to imply the off screen violence/brutality of the zombies.

The Rules in Zombieland: Double Tap

To conclude my analysis of Zombieland: Double Tap, I’m going to discuss the rules for survival and how they changed from Zombieland. If you haven’t seen the original Zombieland, Columbus has a lot of rules for surviving the zombie apocalypse. Amongst other things these include cardio, seatbelts and as seen in the sequel’s title: Double Tap. So, do any of these rules change for the sequel? No is the short answer however 5 years is a long time so more rules have been added. What are these rules?

Well they include Tallahassee’s it takes a real man to drive a pink Cadillac and Madison’s mostly stay in the freezer. So, apart from comedic purposes, what is the effect of these new Zombieland rules? To emphasise the reflexiveness of the film. Simply put they are there to show how while the rules might have been sensible, they have since become a humorous point. This is further emphasised by Flagstaff and Columbus’s conversation comparing their respective rules. The rules are serious… until they become a parody of zombie films within a parody zombie film.

Summary

To summarise Zombieland: Double Tap, this is a relatively fun and entertaining sequel that doesn’t quite hit the heights of the first Zombieland but does provide a decent payoff for fans of the original.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10 – Okay

Target Audience: 15+

Content Warning: Mild Sex and Nudity, Severe Violence and Gore, Severe Bad Language, Moderate Alcohol and Drugs References, Moderate Frightening and Intense Scenes.

Recommendation: Yes