‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ repeats what worked in the first film, to good effect

Michael O’Sullivan

THE WASHINGTON POST – There’s a repetitive – but not necessarily redundant – quality to “Zombieland: Double Tap,” a violent, funny and satisfying sequel to the 2009 cult hit zombie comedy about a quartet of human survivors trying to build a sense of family as they travel across an America overrun by the undead. It’s in the very subtitle, which in addition to signifying “No 2” (a double entendre that the makers of this gleefully vulgar exercise in potty-mouthedness would almost certainly appreciate), refers back to a concept introduced in the original movie.

“Double Tap” is just one of dozens of survival “rules” advanced by the series’ obsessive-compulsive narrator (Jesse Eisenberg), and it alludes to a firearm technique that advocates shooting someone – in this case, a zombie – not just once, but twice for good measure, to make sure the target is well and truly neutralised.

It applies equally well to the new film, which reprises most of what was already so effective about “Zombieland” in the first place: a sense of cartoonishly over-the-top violence that the film wears lightly – like a consequence-free, first-person-shooter video game – tempered by a surprising sweetness that’s hidden beneath a veneer of near-constant, catchphrase-worthy wisecracking.

“You guys are all very sarcastic,” says a new character, Madison (Zoey Deutch), with enormous understatement, when she meets the four trash-talking protagonists, who, like her, have all adopted nicknames that point to their hometowns: Columbus (Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin).

Zoey Deutch, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson in ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’. PHOTOS: THE WASHINGTON POST