A lot’s happened with the undead since 2009’s Zombieland, there’s been about 5709 comedy zombie films for one thing, and about ten times that amount of serious zombie flicks, along with tv shows Z-Nation and The Walking Dead. So you might wonder if there is anything new that any film can offer up, and while last year’s One Cut Of The Dead suggested that an innovative director can still create a fantastic zombie film, unfortunately Ruben Fleischer isn’t such a thing, and if anything Zombieland 2 Double Tap just delivers a selection of tired tropes and doesn’t even bother to include that much fun death and destruction.
The plot’s pretty skimpy too, as after ten years of hanging out together the relationships between the group are starting to get frayed. Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) is sick to death of Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) being an over bearing father figure, and all kinds of horny for someone, anyone, her own age, while Wichita (Emma Stone) and Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) are in a rut and end up splitting up. Then after a bit of convoluted plotting Little Rock meets a sleazy hippy type and sods off, leaving the other three trying to track her down.
The first half hour is surprisingly tedious as the gang move in to the White House but don’t really do anything fun with the idea, Wichita and Columbus argue a lot and Little Rock buggers off, there’s hardly any gore and a lot of the attempts at humour involve Columbus’s meta narration which becomes rather irritating very quickly. New character Maddison (Zoey Deutch) is introduced as a sex object for the suddenly single Columbus to screw and everyone else mock, and the way the film treats her seems pretty cruel and mean and left a very unpleasant taste in my mouth.
Once Little Rock is off with new boyfriend Berkeley (Avan Jogia) and the group are searching for her it becomes vaguely more watchable and there’s a couple of gory moments, but a love interest is introduced for Woody Harrelson in the form of Rosario Dawson who gets little to do other than lust after him despite his character being a bit rubbish. Then Luke Wilson (proving once again that he is not a good actor) and Thomas Middleditch turn up, and in an extended take on the gag from Shaun Of The Dead where Shaun and co meet a group who are just like them it turns out that they’re just like Tallahassee and Columbus. Or at least for the ten minutes they’re alive, before the film remembers it’s main plotline and the search for Little Rock continues.
There are some funny moments, the cutaways to the two Zombie Kill Of The Year are great, even if they do make me wish the film was much more over the top and silly for the rest of it’s running time. When the film isn’t being mean to her Maddison has some funny lines as well, like when she claims the zombies are “Much more afraid of us then we are of them”, and the idea of really stupid zombies that they call “Homer’s” is amusing, but most of the time it’s a turgid affair and the dialogue is painful in places.
A cast this good really does deserve much better material than this, for a zombie film it’s disappointingly lacking in inventive kills, it makes at least two of the main characters borderline unlikeable, and it’s a film which really doesn’t have any reason to exist. Even the big finale is disappointing if only because it’s over with so quickly, and like most of the rest of the film it’s not as funny or as interesting as it seems to think it is.