The poster for Zombieland: Double Tap boasts (or rather threatens) “from the director of Venom and the writer of Deadpool.” Personally I’d have gone with “from the producer of Gilmore Girls.” Either that or “get ready for Brexit.”
When Zombieland came out in 2009 I embraced it as one of the few post-Shaun of the Dead zombie comedies that actually felt fresh, but now we’re both 10 years older, I’ve bought some Walking Dead box sets and not watched them (see earlier comment re Gilmore Girls) and Zombieland 2 finally emerges from development hell with faster zombies and slower wits. The stakes seem lower this time round, following the survivors’ (Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg) mission to retrieve runaway Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) even though she’s in no more danger than any actor doing a mediocre sequel.
En route they meet Madison (Zoey Deutch), whom Wikipedia calls a “dumb blonde” because that’s her entire character, and the movie seems intent on punishing her for it. That this sexist stereotype ends up being the most likeable person in the film says more about the core characters than it does her. They basically bully Madison despite being supposedly more intelligent and demonstrably less funny. Suffice to say the film is liberal with its use of gurning reaction shots to indicate that something hilarious was meant to have just happened.
Their smugness appears to stem from a peril-free existence, a problem the picture shares with this year’s The Dead Don’t Die. You’d have thought living in Zombieland would create a constant state of threat, the essence of the zombie genre. And while the zombie attack sequences are highlights, there are only about three in the entire movie. There are more in an average 25-minute episode of Ash vs Evil Dead, a show that perfected the character dynamics of Zombieland while three writers were dreaming up the comic possibilities of a blonde woman who thinks ‘suffrage’ is called ‘suffering’. Ten years well spent.
Weirdly it’s the mid-credits scene that feels like the film and the rest an afterthought, the undead looking lively and the actors seeking burial, if only there was some sort of plot.