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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Zombieland: Double Tap is the horror-comedy sequel to Zombieland, set 10 years after the first movie. It's a worthy companion piece to the original, rather than a pale imitation, and the characters' chemistry is as strong as ever. But iffy/mature material makes it best for older teens and up. Expect extreme (albeit comical) zombie violence and gore, with guns and shooting, blood sprays, severed heads, destroyed body parts, and a monster truck running over hordes of zombies. Language is also strong, with multiple uses of "f--k," "s--t," "c--ksucker," "motherf----r," and more. Characters kiss, and there are two sex scenes; they're more suggested than shown, but sex noises are heard through walls. There are suggestions of drinking (bottles/beer cans shown), and a bag of pot is shown, with spoken references to smoking pot. Characters smoke cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin all return.
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What's the story?
In ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP, it's 10 years after the events of Zombieland, and the core foursome -- Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) -- has settled down in the White House. Columbus tries to take his relationship with Wichita to the next level and proposes, causing her to panic. Little Rock, meanwhile, feels stirrings of wanting to be on her own. So the sisters decide to leave. A month later, a distraught Columbus meets the pink-clad Madison (Zoey Deutch) in an empty mall and invites her back to the house, just as Wichita returns. Wichita explains that her sister has run off with a hippie named Berkeley (Avan Jogia) with no weapons and that a new strain of more intelligent, resilient zombies has evolved. It's time to hit the road again to save her; this time, their destination is Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.
Is it any good?
A happy companion rather than an inferior imitation, this is the rare sequel that feels as fresh and surprising -- and as funny -- as the original. Zombieland: Double Tap starts out on the right (rotting) foot with Eisenberg updating viewers via jokey yet informative narration, accompanied by a dazzlingly gory slow-motion title sequence. The characters are at ease together, making sly jabs at one another and casually referencing the decade that's gone by since Zombieland. But it's more than just references and in-jokes; the players seem excited and refreshed to be here.
Zombieland: Double Tap relies heavily on Elvis Presley references (including an Elvis-themed hotel run by Rosario Dawson's Nevada), on a specific supporting character from the first movie, and on a pair of characters who hilariously mirror Tallahassee and Columbus. There's also a hippie commune called Babylon, named not for the great ancient city but for the 1999 David Gray song. The jokes are funny, and the zombie attacks are thrillingly kinetic and bloody, but the real key to the movie's success is its warmth and its dedication to this ill-fitting but loving, lovable family. It's weirdly reminiscent of another successful R-rated comedy sequel about a surrogate family, Deadpool 2; the characters' most irritating little foibles turn out to become their greatest strengths.
Talk to your kids about ...
How is sex depicted? What values are imparted?
What's the appeal of zombie movies? Are zombies scary? Do they represent other aspects of life today?
How does this sequel compare to the original? Why do you think sequels get made?
- In theaters: October 18, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: January 21, 2020
- Cast: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin
- Director: Ruben Fleischer
- Studio: Columbia Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Character strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: bloody violence, language throughout, some drug and sexual content
- Last updated: November 3, 2020
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