Zombieland: Double Tap a manic sequel that loses some of the original's charm

Review: Stepping back into this silly post-apocalyptic world is fun, but lacks bite.

Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
Sean knows far too much about Marvel, DC and Star Wars, and poured this knowledge into recaps and explainers on CNET. He also worked on breaking news, with a passion for tech, video game and culture.
Expertise Culture, Video Games, Breaking News
Sean Keane
2 min read

Columbus, Tallahassee, Little Rock and Wichita are back 10 years later.

Sony Pictures

Ah, the undead. Between The Walking Dead, Resident Evil and countless other franchises, it seems like they're always trying to feast on our leisure time in one form or another. It's been a decade since the first Zombieland took a bite, so revisiting that particular post-apocalyptic America in Zombieland: Double Tap offers a dose of silly nostalgia that just isn't as fun as the original. It's in theaters now.

In this sequel from returning director Ruben Fleisher (who directed Venom last year), we rejoin Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) as they live luxurious lives in an abandoned White House. If you've forgotten how utterly ridiculous the previous movie was, Double Tap doesn't waste any time reminding you.

Of course, safety soon gets boring, with Wichita and Little Rock growing justifiably weary of their overbearing male companions and hitting the road. When Little Rock runs off to be with people her own age, Tallahassee and Columbus are drawn out to track her down.


Turns out Tallahassee and Columbus aren't quite as unique as they thought.

Sony Pictures

That's when the adventure really kicks in, with Madison (Zoey Deutch) joining the crew to mix things up. She's a stereotypical ditz, but subjected to some unnecessarily harsh treatment from her new companions. Despite this, Deutch's comic timing and charm make her the movie's standout character.

We also get an excellent cameo pairing from Old School's Luke Wilson and Silicon Valley's Thomas Middleditch, as Tallahassee and Columbus' doppelgangers, in a scene that turns each characters' traits up to 11 but doesn't outstay its welcome.

Watch this: Surviving the zombie apocalypse at the Walking Dead experience

You might be surprised by the movie's long stretches without any zombies. It's more concerned with the characters' interpersonal drama, leaving us wanting more action. It tries to up the threat level by introducing various zombie types like the particularly dumb Homer, super smart Hawking and ultra deadly T-800, but these are all underused and forgettable despite their pop culture cache.

At least our characters get to explore plenty of memorable locations. Aside from the rundown 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we spend time in a decaying mall, an Elvis-themed hotel and a hippie commune. Each place is distinct, dividing the movie up neatly and giving it plenty of visual pop.

Between that and the characters' banter, there's enough to keep you engaged and laughing, even if the whimsical tone of the original isn't quite so fresh 10 years later.

2019 movies to geek out over

See all photos
Watch this: 10 best free movie and TV streaming services