A Decade in the Making, showing how Predecessor was a Premonition Foretold
The trailer for “Venom” director Ruben Fleischer’s new movie starts out with a feeling of prestige. Over intense music, we see shots of an impressive cast as text introduces Academy Award nominees Woody Harrelson, Jessie Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin, and Academy Award winner Emma Stone. Just when you start to think you are watching an ad for the latest star-studded, Oscar-bait drama, you realize that the lineup feels somewhat familiar.
Suddenly the dramatic music comes to a halt as the shot of Emma Stone widens to reveal her loading, aiming, and firing a grenade launcher at a walking corpse. Music starts up again, but this time it is Ice Cube’s Click Clack-Get Back as the characters wade through a field of zombies towards a deteriorating Whitehouse.
Suddenly, we know where we are… We are back in Zombieland!
“Zombieland: Double Tap” is a follow-up to the 2009 zombie-horror-comedy “Zombieland.” It has been ten years since the first movie hit theaters and surprised audiences with its humor and fresh take on the genre. Fortunately, despite how long it has taken to produce a sequel, the aforementioned original cast and director are back in their rightful places for the new film.
In addition to Fleischer returning to the director’s chair and Harrelson, Eisenberg, Breslin, and Stone reprising their roles, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are also coming back for “Double Tap.” Since the first film came out, Reese and Wernick have become contemporary comedy legends, having written both of the “Deadpool” movies.
Joining the writing staff for “Double Tap” is also “The Expendables” and “Godzilla” screenwriter Dave Callaham. “Double Tap” will be the first of many upcoming blockbuster projects for Callaham. Over the next few years, he is lined up to write for “Wonder-Woman: 1984,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2,” and Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”
Stellar Cast and Creative Team should produce Entertaining Bulls-eye
If the creative minds behind “Zombieland: Double Tap” are any signifier, the movie will not lack in humor or action. Like the first “Zombieland,” the sequel’s story takes place in a post-apocalyptic America, centering on a quartet of survivors who have come to depend on each other as a motley, makeshift family.
This time around, the characters are seeking refuge in middle-America, combating new kinds of zombies and encountering other survivors in the process. Joining the cast to play these other survivors are Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson, and Thomas Middleditch. The movie will also have a couple cameos from the likes of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd.
Of course, comedy has noticeably changed since 2009. Ten years ago, the most talked about comedies were “Step Brothers,” “The Hangover,” and “Pineapple Express.” Will Farrell’s absurdist humor was still at its peak and Seth Rogen’s stoner bromance style felt fresh. These icons led the genre in a very goofy direction at the turn of the decade.
Today, however, audiences have shown that they want something a bit more socially telling. Viewers desire either genre parodies such as “Deadpool” or “Shazam!” or they want political satires that cross over into dramas such as “Vice” or “The Big Short.”
This raises the question of whether something as silly as rednecks and nerds killing zombies in over-the-top violent fashions will still be suitable for contemporary audiences?
More Apropos in 2019 than 2009?
In response to that valid query, perhaps we can look at the first “Zombieland” not as a product of 2009, but rather as a film that was ahead of its time. After all, the movie is a parody of a specific horror sub-genre and it blends comedy with action quite well, leaving viewers feeling as if they laughed, but also enjoyed a solid zombie movie in its own right.
Lastly, “Zombieland” is not without its own pinch of satire, as it characterizes certain America stereotypes and pokes fun at low-mimetic people by placing them in high-stakes situations. As previously described, the trailer begins with the characters fighting zombies on the Whitehouse lawn. In the next scene, Woody Harrelson’s hickish character is sitting in the oval office, explaining how he would make a good president. While such jokes could be excused as mere gags ten years ago, they now have a touch of real-world relevance.
In total, “Zombieland: Double Tap” promises to be the thrilling, yet gut-busting action comedy that we are expecting. Like its 2009 predecessor, it will cross boundaries and use humor to deliver a message while winking at the audience in the process. In 2019, though, that message may be more divisive or potent, ultimately making the wink a whole lot less subtle.
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