In the first Zombieland, a particularly virulent form of human adapted mad cow disease sweeps across the United States, transforming most of the nation’s populace into ravenous zombies. The film follows a ragtag group of unlikely survivors—Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), and orphaned sisters Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin)—on a road trip in hopes of finding someplace yet untouched by the disease, ending with a pitched battle against zombie hordes in an abandoned amusement park. Audiences (myself included) loved the mix of horror and dark screwball comedy. In fact, Zombieland beat out the Dawn of the Dead remake as the top-grossing zombie film to date.
While the original cast expressed enthusiasm for a sequel in the wake of Zombieland‘s success, their enthusiasm waned as the project languished for several years. Along the way, the four main cast members were each nominated for Academy Awards, and Emma Stone actually won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in La La Land (2016). So it’s surprising and a bit gratifying that each of them retained sufficient fondness for their Zombieland experience to return for the sequel when it went into production. It’s not like any of them really needed the work. “I think they are making this movie because they love these characters,” Columbia Pictures President Stanford Panitch said in a June 2018 statement to Hollywood Reporter.
The official synopsis for Zombieland 2 is scant on details: “Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock move to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors and the growing pains of the snarky makeshift family.” But in the trailer, we see our makeshift family setting up camp in a deserted White House, just in time for Christmas.
Complicating matters is the fact that Little Rock is now a teenager and feeling a bit restless and hormonal. When she meets a dreamy boy named Berkeley (Avan Jogia), she runs off with him. Columbus, Wichita, and Tallahassee take off in hot pursuit. Along the way they meet tough-as-nails Nevada (Rosario Dawson) and two curious doppelgängers (Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch) for Tallahassee and Columbus. And of course, the zombies have evolved to be harder to kill, upping the ante for the final inevitable confrontation.
Zombieland 2: Double Tap hits theaters October 18, 2019.
Listing image by YouTube/Sony Pictures