Zombieland: Double Tap First Reviews: A Goofy, Gory, and Very Familiar Return to the Horror-Comedy Favorite

Critics say the Zombieland sequel offers more of the same -- riotous fun with a game all-star cast -- along with a killer performance from newcomer Zoey Deutch.

by | October 16, 2019 | Comments

Exactly 10 years ago this month we were reminded that when zombie movies are good, they’re really good. The horror-comedy Zombieland brought just the right combo of laughs and gore to theaters – and was Certified Fresh at 90% for its efforts. In the decade since, its cast has been racking up prestigious accolades, but is still down for more high jinks with the undead. Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin have returned, along with the original writers and director, for the new sequel Zombieland: Double Tap, and critics are saying it’s more of the same, for better or worse, elevated by a scene-stealing performance by rising star Zoey Deutch.

Here’s what critics are saying about Zombieland: Double Tap:

Does it live up to the original?

“It’s a high bar that the movie is able to reach…once again audiences get an entertaining, laugh-out-loud ride.” – Eric Eisenberg, CinemaBlend

“It’s a worthy successor to Zombieland, offering much more of what you liked originally and lots of original fun stuff.” – Edward Douglas, The Beat

Zombieland: Double Tap is a more than worthy sequel and companion piece to the original movie.” – Simon Thompson, IGN Movies

“Rather than trying to reinvent what made the first movie work or offer a bold new approach, Double Tap is a collection of goofy gags and charming new characters that make the sequel a nice companion to the original.” – Matt Goldberg, Collider

“There may not have been much of a demand for a Zombieland sequel after all this time, but…its plentiful laughs and casual craziness may be just what we need right now.” – Don Kaye, Den of Geek

Still, should we go in with measured expectations?

“What’s truly unrealistic…is going into Zombieland: Double Tap with the expectation it will administer the same jolt of blood-splattered exhilaration as its 2009 predecessor.” – Neil Smith Total Film / Games Radar

“It’s fine? It’s just a time-killer we didn’t much need, a decade after we hardly needed the first one.” – Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph

“After 10 years of anticipation, it would have been nice to see a zombie movie with more on its mind than the same goofy undead routine.” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

Zombieland Double Tap

(Photo by © Columbia Pictures)

Does Double Tap Offer more of the same?

Zombieland: Double Tap doubles down on what the original provided for those apparently eagerly waiting for more.” – Benjamin Lee, Guardian

Zombieland: Double Tap does all the same things the original did. And that’s pretty much it. The result is a suitably entertaining follow-up that’s fun but forgettable.” – Germain Lussier,

Zombieland: Double Tapcribs so liberally from the original that it robs the entire outing of any narrative tension whatsoever.” –Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“The Zombieland sequel falls back on the flaws of the original.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“It does have a very familiar structure. But this isn’t a movie that needed to break the mold to succeed.” – Eric Eisenberg, CinemaBlend

Is it as funny as the original?

Zombieland: Double Tap is a riot.” – Simon Thompson, IGN Movies

“They still manage to squeeze a number of laughs out of this shopworn genre even if the movie itself doesn’t have a whole lot new to say.” –  Don Kaye, Den of Geek

Zombieland: Double Tap is only ever amusing when it’s breaking new ground. That just doesn’t happen nearly enough.” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“The comedy [is] fairly dawdling. It’s also pamperingly lowbrow and disengaged, with barely one satirical zinger.” – Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph

“The zombies have evolved in Zombieland: Double Tap; the comedy not so much.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

How’s the zombie action?

“While the jokes have become a little tired (especially Columbus’s rules for surviving Zombieland), the action sequences keep it lively.” – Demetrios Matheou, The List

“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

Zombieland Double Tap

(Photo by © Columbia Pictures)

How is the original cast this time around?

“It may have been ten years, but the way Harrelson, Stone, and Eisenberg just bounce off each other is a joy to watch and there’s no doubt they are having a great time in this world.” – Germain Lussier,

“What ultimately powers Double Tap…is the chemistry and repartee among our four leads.” – Don Kaye, Den of Geek

“Everyone on screen is good enough to do this sort of thing in their sleep, which isn’t to say [they] laze through the assignment.” – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

“Thank criminy for Harrelson, thoroughly comfortable with his backwoods Elvis shtick and evidently enjoying himself.” – Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph

“Once again, the original cast works together flawlessly, and the schtick and chemistry are no less engaging or entertaining. Every single one of them nails it, but snarky Stone is a particular delight.” – Simon Thompson, IGN Movies

“The returning actors replay the same beats with about as much effort and investment as one might expect, with Stone looking particularly bored.” – Benjamin Lee, Guardian

What about the new additions?

“Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch debut as doppelgangers of Tallahassee and Columbus for one of the funniest and most visually impressive sequences.” – Brandon Davis,

“New characters are never allowed to come within a mile of resembling anything like a real person.” – Chris Hewitt, Empire Magazine

Zombieland Double Tap

(Photo by © Columbia Pictures)

And we hear one particular new addition steals the movie…

Zombieland: Double Tap belongs to newcomer Zoey Deutch. Her performance as Madison is absolute comedy gold and uniquely her. It is worth the price of admission on its own. How she makes a character that should be insanely annoying so utterly irresistible is genius.” – Simon Thompson, IGN Movies

“Zoey Deutch is an impressive scene-stealer who generates some of the biggest laughs of the movie, both with fantastic comedic timing, and some great physicality.” – Eric Eisenberg, CinemaBlend

“Madison might well have been a throwaway dumb-blonde caricature. But Deutch brings her to life, scoring laugh after laugh.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

“Deutch is almost too good since the script calls for the other characters to be annoyed by Madison, [but] she’s a delight whenever she’s on screen and we don’t want her to go.” – Matt Goldberg, Collider

“The enthusiasm never stops with Deutch and while we get plenty of her on screen, we are left wanting more.” – Brandon Davis,

Does anything match the iconic cameo from Zombieland?

“The filmmakers wisely decide not to repeat the showstopping Bill Murray cameo from the first film.” – Don Kaye, Den of Geek

“There’s one very good cameo at the end too; one that isn’t much diminished by being pure shameless fan bait.” – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

“Fans of Bill Murray’s cameo in Zombieland have a late-arriving treat.” – Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph

Zombieland Double Tap

(Photo by © Columbia Pictures)

What are the main problems with the sequel?

“The downside is a bitty, halting and largely directionless structure that not even the introduction of a new, virtually unkillable zombie can lend urgency or tension.” – Neil Smith Total Film / Games Radar

“Humor turns every kill into a sick punchline, and while the writers do a fine job of making them funny…the movie’s tone negates a fundamental respect for human life.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“The only big issue I have with Double Tap is that there is not a ton of zombies in the first hour.” – Edward Douglas, The Beat

Will Zombieland fans leave satisfied?

“Taking another road trip with this crew is certainly worth a fan’s time.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

“Diehard fans of the original Zombieland movie…above all, will walk away the most satisfied.” – Brandon Davis,

“Fans of the original will probably like the sequel and for anyone else, there are worse ways to spend two hours.” – Germain Lussier,

“Call Double Tap an act of fan service, no less than Downton Abbey or, in an entirely different and inferior grade of glibness, Joker. – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

So, some of us will still want more Zombieland?

“Flawed though Double Tap undoubtedly is, we wouldn’t rule out a Zombieland 3 in another decade.” – Neil Smith Total Film / Games Radar

“Stone has already been quoted as saying a third installment, released in 2029, would be a good idea. I think so, too.” – Chuck Yarborough, Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Bring on Zombieland 3!” – Edward Douglas, The Beat

Zombieland: Double Tap is in theater October 18. 

Adjusted Score: 79.596%
Critics Consensus: Zombieland: Double Tap makes up for a lack of fresh brains with an enjoyable reunion that recaptures the spirit of the original and adds a few fun twists.
Synopsis: A decade after Zombieland became a hit film and a cult classic, the lead cast (Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail... [More]
Directed By: Ruben Fleischer

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