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  Zombieland: Double Tap I'll Zombie You In A Minute
Year: 2019
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Stars: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch, Victoria Hall, Victor Rivera, Ian Gregg, Devin Mojica, Rachel Luttrell, John Dixon, Jess Durham, Bill Murray
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Here is Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) to thank you for choosing this zombie entertainment, there are a lot of these around, after all, and to get us up to speed on what has happened in the ten years since the first Zombieland movie. The answer to that is, eh, not much as far as the humans go, his group of four survivors of the undead apocalypse continue to survive, though the zombies have started to evolve. He classes these as three distinct types: the Homer, the really stupid ones, the Hawking, the ones which can plan ahead and puzzle solve to eat flesh, and the Ninja, which can jump out at their victims without warning. All easily dealt with by the now-seasoned quartet, but there are issues...

Here it was not so much the zombies that were the problem, more the way people can fall out and relationships can break down, which in an apocalypse situation can really have a detrimental effect when the survivors are all supposed to be in this together, not squabbling. Though of course, characters arguing over the correct course of action had been a staple of zombie fiction since George A. Romero started the genre back in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead, and as the follow-ons from that classic basically repeated the same tropes over and over for the next number of decades, it was no real shock to see the sequel to Zombieland do similar, the first instalment had, after all.

That first movie had been a fair-sized hit, and had generated a decent amount of goodwill for its American take on the zomcom stylings of Britain's Shaun of the Dead; that may sound derivative, but zombie fiction purely exists to be derivative, and there were some solid gags and importantly, a very fine cast to carry the clich├ęs. What this sequel lacked was that surprise value, and it did try to make out that while ten years had gone by, nothing had really changed fundamentally, which if you were living in the real world away from the fictional may have been true in some ways, but ten years is not insignificant, and in others pretending 2009 was a year zero for culture didn't quite take.

Fortunately, director Ruben Fleischer, whose career had had ups and downs in the interim, was blessed yet again with a very strong cast. Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson as his father figure, Emma Stone as his love interest who realises she doesn't want to be defined by Columbus, and Abigail Breslin who just wants someone to love as her sister does (or eventually, doesn't) were an excellent team, and the screenplay, while giving a workshopped air, served them up with some highly amusing lines. Only Breslin didn't quite get her due, as she was more of a plot device - she runs away with pretentious hippy Avan Jogia to a supposed shelter from the anarchy outside its walls - and her costume designer appeared to be intent on displaying her d├ęcolletage to rival Linda Blair's in Hell Night for horror movie cleavage notables.

Elsewhere, the mood was irreverent and frequently laughter-inducing, with bits of business in The Whitehouse, a pair of doubles for Harrelson and Eisenberg for no reason other than it's silly, and best of all Zoey Deutch as a character who initially seems like a lazy dumb blonde joke until you realise how far she was committing to it, and how excellent her performance was - she was even redeemed as a result to turn endearing. If you're honest, had you not seen the first one for years the most you would recall would be the Bill Murray bit, and there was not much here that matched, never mind beat, that, yet while it played out this was very likeable and for a sequel, did not disgrace the source. If you were musing over its theme, it was helpful enough to spell that out for you - finding a home, then realising home was where the heart is, and your heart is with your friends and family, but never mind that schmaltz and enjoy Rosario Dawson driving a monster truck over the zombie hordes. All this and an Elvis Presley fixation into the bargain for pop culture points. Not bad at all. Music by David Sardy, and Harrelson sings The King for the credits.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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