By David Dent
Comedy horror films that work are as rare as demons’ teeth – ok that doesn’t really work but you get the idea. 2009’s Zombieland was just such a movie, an ‘alike-poles-repel’ buddy flick that had a great look, some superb one-liners and winning (and whining) camaraderie between the cast.
So ten years on, did we really need a sequel? Probably not, but it’s fun to see the gang reunited, particularly Emma Stone as Wichita who, with her post, The Favourite fame probably didn’t need this gig – I like to think she was doing it just because it was fun to make.
Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson also return as Columbus and Tallahassee, and making up the foursome are Wichita’s younger sister Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) who, aged 13 in the first movie, is now a woman…with needs.
For the four of you not familiar with the Zombieland setup, a virus has infected the US leaving it decimated. In the original movie, our heroes and heroines bumped into each other on the road, got duped and then formed a lasting friendship, all the while staving off the undead. A decade later and Wichita and Columbus are an item, but with all the problems inherent in trying to sustain a long term relationship during a zombie apocalypse.
To mix things up, director Ruben Fleischer adds some new supercharged zombies and different characters into the mix, notably mall queen Madison (Zooey Deutsch) and faux hippie Berkeley (Avin Jogia) who absconds with a besotted Little Rock to a retreat called ‘Babylon’ (not a biblical reference, it was named after the David Gray song). Just so he doesn’t feel left out, Tallahassee hooks up with hotel owner Nevada (Rosario Dawson). Wichita persuades the others to travel to ‘Babylon’ to rescue Little Rock, and via a hilarious bit of road tripping the group ends up in the hippie stronghold, only to find themselves a target for the super zombies.
Amazingly Z:DT (the ‘Double Tap’ refers to the method of shooting twice to ensure your adversary stays dead) is as funny, if not funnier – and certainly tighter – than the original film (no sojourn to Bill Murray’s house here). Much of the gag setups will be familiar to those who’ve seen the 2009 movie but it’s also gorier than Zombieland and the last half an hour is a brilliantly choreographed splatter fest.
I’m not really sure a ‘Zombieland III’ would be that welcome as standards would inevitably decline, but this is a great popcorn movie with a first-rate cast and a script you could cut your fingers on.
Now nut up or shut up!