[Screen It]


(2019) (Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone) (R)

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Horror/Comedy: Four non-infected survivors of a zombie apocalypse must contend with running into other fellow survivors as well as the introduction of mutant zombies who are faster, stronger and much more difficult to kill.
It's been a decade since we last saw zombie apocalypse survivors Columbus (JESSE EISENBERG), Tallahassee (WOODY HARRELSON), Wichita (EMMA STONE), and her sister Little Rock (ABIGAIL BRESLIN) band together to form an unlikely family unit. Having now taken up residence in the long-abandoned but still secure White House, the four could easily live out their days there. But there's discord among the group, starting with Little Rock who hates that Tallahassee still treats her like a kid and longs to have a boyfriend. He, meanwhile, has developed a case of wanderlust. And while Columbus and Wichita are now a romantic couple, she isn't exactly thrilled that he's just proposed to her.

That comes to a head when the ladies leave without saying goodbye, but things look up for Columbus when he and Tallahassee run into fellow survivor but uber-flighty Madison (ZOEY DEUTCH) in a shopping mall. She returns with them to the White House and she and Columbus end up in bed, but that becomes complicated when Wichita returns and says that Little Rock has run off with pacifist beatnik Berkeley (AVAN JOGIA) for Graceland.

Realizing they need to go there to save her, Tallahassee and the rest find a working minivan and hit the road where they eventually run into Nevada (ROSARIO DAWSON) who's rescued Elvis' museum belongings and set up her own display, as well as Albuquerque (LUKE WILSON) and Flagstaff (THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH) who are just as adept at killing the zombies as everyone else.

But with Little Rock nowhere in sight, and with a new, faster and more dangerous breed of zombies now on the loose, the group realizes they must find her before it's too late.

OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10
As every movie year makes its way through the fourth quarter, it's quite common for the studios to roll out their so-called Oscar-bait movies. You know, the ones that either arrive from a past nominated or victorious filmmaker and/or feature nominated or winning performers, with the more of those listed the merrier, at least for the studio hoping to bring home lots of gold statuettes.

Sony Pictures Entertainment isn't immune from that and their latest mid-fall offering features a trailer that begins with images of the following actors and their accompanying titles: "Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson, Academy Award nominee Jesse Eisenberg, Academy Award nominee Abigail Breslin, and Academy Award winner Emma Stone."

With that sort of introduction, you might be wondering what sort of Oscar contender this might be. And then the footage shows those four proceeding to tackle, shoot and blow up various zombies. And as their movie begins, even the Columbia Pictures logo lady gets into the act by moving from her standard pose to use her torch to hit two more zombies as "Zombieland: Double Tap" takes up where the original "Zombieland" left off.

Well, sort of, as a decade or so has passed and our unlikely "family" quartet -- Columbus (Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Harrelson), Wichita (Stone), and Little Rock (Breslin) -- have taken up residence in the long-abandoned White House that's somehow still secure from being breached by the zombies that continue to roam the city.

Yet, while the group still remains fairly flippant toward that ever-present threat -- sort of like swatting and smashing mosquitoes that likewise carry a deadly disease -- things aren't otherwise all peachy keen. Little Rock, no longer the 12-year-old kid from the first film, has grown tired of Tallahassee still treating her like a kid and longs for a boyfriend, while he's developed a case of wanderlust. Columbus and Wichita, meanwhile, are now a couple where she's less than thrilled that he's just popped the big question in the Lincoln bedroom.

Accordingly, the sisters hit the road and while they run into a beatnik pacifist (Avan Jogia), the guys meet Madison (Zoey Deutch) in a shopping mall. While Tallahassee is greatly annoyed by her, Columbus is smitten by her charming but uber-flighty demeanor, and I imagine many a viewer will feel the same way as her presence ends up as welcome and quite funny addition to the mix.

Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch also end up joining the others, albeit not as entertainingly as their earlier predecessor. Her addition certainly helps as returning director Ruben Fleischer and screenwriters Rhett Reese (also returning), Paul Wernick (ditto) and Dave Callaham (new to the fold) otherwise pretty much reuse much of the same sort of horror-comedy material that made the original film work where the laughs were as big as the spurts of blood and gore.

That continues here, and while that likely won't be everyone's cup of tea, if you don't mind a far more tongue-in-cheek approach of killing zombies, you'll probably be fairly to greatly entertained by what's offered here. While the ending feels a bit rushed, I otherwise enjoyed the offering about the same as I did back while watching the original film, and thus "Zombieland: Double Tap" likewise rates as a 6 out of 10.

Reviewed October 15, 2019 / Posted October 18, 2019

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