It's been 10 years since a ragtag group of survivors decided to form a family in the wake of the zombie apocalypse. A decade later, and they're still nutting up to kick, shoot, impale, maim, and burn undead heinie. As we shamble closer to the release of Zombieland: Double Tap this Friday (Oct. 18), critics are offering up their thoughts on the long-awaited undead sequel.
Even with the entire band back together (that includes director Ruben Fleischer and writers, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese), the follow-up is apparently not quite as fresh as its predecessor. Think about it for a second: how well does zombie flesh age in 10 years time? Critics say some subtle signs of rotting lethargy are on display in Double Tap, but that doesn't mean it's not a charming, funny, and breezy way to spend an hour-and-a-half at the movies. Like the first movie, it's not going for anything highfalutin — just a comedic subversion of the zombie genre.
While the film isn't being universally acclaimed, none of the reviews say it's flat-out bad. Even those with the most complaints have some very nice compliments to pay to the project, which brings back all of the first movie's original stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, and Abigail Breslin. Since this is an expansion of the world, we get a few new faces Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Luke Wilson, and Thomas Middleditch.
It's time to nut up or shut up. Find out what critics are saying about Zombieland: Double Tap below...
"Rounding up all the original's stars and throwing several more surviving human characters into the mix, the pic is plenty entertaining for those of us who, paradoxically, find zombies comforting in dark times. Few of its new ingredients are home runs, and some elements play out like obligations ... But with Walking Dead threatening to lurch onward until every bit of appeal falls off its bones, and with George Romero gone to the mysterious ghoulish beyond, taking another road trip with this crew is certainly worth a fan's time." -John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
“The Zombieland” sequel ... falls back on the flaws of the original. A few quasi-empowered lines uttered by the women doesn’t excuse the fact that these characters exist primarily as love interests for their hormonal male co-stars. Worse still, the violence once again functions as a kind of running joke, as the film’s 'good guys' gleefully execute legions of anonymous ex-humans, making John Wick look like some kind of lightweight by comparison." -Peter Debruge, Variety
Every movie sequel is inevitably beholden to certain elements of its first film, but Zombieland: Double Tap cribs so liberally from the original that it robs the entire outing of any narrative tension whatsoever ... From the fissures that appear between the various characters to the key locations that inspire road trip adventuring, it’s all been done before, with all the same people." -Kate Erbland, IndieWire
"Nobody asked for it, really, but Zombieland: Double Tap has its moments, too. It arrives 10 years and one Emma Stone Oscar after the first one. You’d think that La La Land Oscar might be good for a slightly larger role this time, but this harsh and merry world remains primarily in the control of top-billed Woody Harrelson and second-billed Jesse Eisenberg, with Stone and Abigail Breslin making do with what they have, somewhere between the foreground and the background." -Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune
"The only downside is wading through this nakedly gratuitous sequel, directed again by Ruben (Venom) Fleischer, to get to it. Ten years on, the reunion of the first film’s poster quartet – Harrelson, Eisenberg, Stone, Breslin – feels motivated by little but boosted star power ... and various agents getting a bigger cut." -Tim Robey, The Telegraph
"If little of this feels that fresh or surprising, that’s the curse of sequels. But it’s often enjoyable, occasionally very funny, and has an energy and verve sorely lacking from Fleischer’s last few films. So, while it’s simply, plainly, not as good as the first movie, Zombieland is no longer the odd one out on Fleischer’s CV." -Chris Hewitt, Empire
"Double Tap might've functioned better as a limited TV series: The pacing is not that dissimilar from something you'd watch on Netflix, with 20-minute stretches devoted entirely to banter and dialogue followed by a brief climactic scene involving zombies. It wouldn't be surprising to learn that Reese and Wernick had repurposed much of their TV script for the film sequel. Which, again, is fine. And that's it: Zombieland: Double Tap is mostly just fine. There are far worse ways to spend a couple of hours at the movies, but at least a bad movie would be a little more memorable than this." -Britt Hayes, Birth.Movies.Death.
"What’s truly unrealistic, though, is going into Zombieland: Double Tap with the expectation it will administer the same jolt of blood-splattered exhilaration as its 2009 predecessor. There’s certainly no paucity of carnage: an opening massacre on the White House’s lawn immediately sets the tone with its slo-mo gunplay and multiple exploding heads. Once the bullets stop flying, alas, it quickly becomes evident that it’s simply not as much fun spending time with Jesse’s nerd, Woody Harrelson’s redneck and Stone and Abigail Breslin’s sister act as it used to be." -Neil Smith, Total Film
"Director Ruben Fleischer (Venom) is herding them all toward some kind of ultimate man-vs.-zombie showdown, but the action sequences often feel like the least necessary thing about the movie. For all the flying intestines and skulls that split open like past-due melons, Double Tap has another squishy organ at its center: a big, goofball heart." -Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
"Ultimately, Zombieland: Double Tap operates exactly as you’d like and expect; it’s a hangout movie like the first one, with characters that have come to feel like family. For a late summer movie, it’s just as entertaining and escapist as it needs to be. Should Fleischer and the team conspire to return in another decade, they’d be more than welcome." -Lindsey Romain, Nerdist