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Film Review: Zombieland: Double Tap

“Life Is About More Than Just Survival. We Were A Family. Dysfunctional, Sure, But What Family Isn’t…”

How a lot can change in the world of cinema in just one decade. Since the release of the first Zombieland back in 2009, Emma Stone has picked up a much deserved Academy Award, Woody Harrelson stunned audiences with a career-best performance in the first season of True Detective and Jesse Eisenberg has become more and more of a sanctimonious asshole after winning plaudits for his central role in the outstanding, The Social Network and then bombing any chances of redemption after delivering one of the worst villainous performances in the history of cinema in the awfully misguided, Batman Vs. Superman. Forever placing itself in the hearts of cult movie fanatics since its’ initial release, the world of Zombieland returns with Double Tap, a movie which finally hits the big screen after years of development hell and one helmed once again by returning director, Ruben Fleischer, whose exploits since the original movie have included the vacuous and noisy double bill of Gangster Squad and Venom. With jokes aplenty, some juicy comic violence and an erratic, lightning-fast pacing, Fleischer’s movie is exactly the movie you think it is, and an enjoyable one at that.

Whilst there is some degree of a central narrative at the heart of the movie, one involving our four horsemen (and ladies) of the apocalypse splitting off from each other in search of individual life decisions, Double Tap is without doubt more interested in set pieces, set pieces involving smart, sarcastic and well timed comedic gags during the heat of the battle against the hordes of the undead who make their way into the storyline when absolutely needed. With particular gags from the original being repeated, including the well-versed “zombie rules” utilised as a recurring flashpoint and the mighty Metallica returning to boost the soundtrack’s awesomeness, Double Tap is far from original, and whereas the original was essentially America’s answer to Edgar Wright’s superior zombie classic, Shaun of the Dead, Double Tap concludes with the most Americanised and overly ridiculous climax ever seen in a zombie flick. With the cast being supported by excellent supporting cameos including the scene stealing, Zoey Deutch (Everybody Wants Some!!) and a weird post-credits sequence involving Bill Murray (Groundhog Day), Double Tap is perfect Friday night nonsense, with emphasis on the nonsense.

Overall Score: 6/10

Film Review: The Girl With All The Gifts

“You Can Save Everybody…”

Looking back at recent cinematic history, Danny Boyle’s 2002 horror/thriller 28 Days Later arguably sparked the flame for the re-emergence of the zombie franchise, and whilst Boyle’s film didn’t actually include the classic notion of the zombie, with the creatures actually being regarded as infected, 28 Days Later arguably is the pinnacle of modern horror when it comes to a depiction of the classic monster-based genre of cinema. With The Gil With All The Gifts, the latest from acclaimed television director Colm McCarthy, famous for directing episodes of Doctor Who, Sherlock and Peaky Blinders, follows closely in the footsteps of 28 Days Later by introducing a threat which although doesn’t entirely fit the mould of the classic idea of a zombie, could arguably be regarded as such in a dystopian near future where humanity has been thwarted by a fungal-like disease which turns people into “hungries” in a fashion rather similar to the infected within The Last of Us. In fact, plot wise, The Girl With All The Gifts bears a wide range of similarities with the critically acclaimed video game, and whilst McCarthy’s latest falters at times due to its’ similarities to other works in the genre, its’ subversive ending and acting talents result in a solid and effective horror.

Where The Girl With All The Gifts truly works is in its’ desire to focus on development of its’ leading characters rather than defunct to the well-worn choice of becoming yet another ultra-violent splatter-fest, with Melanie, the titular girl with all the gifts, acting as a conduit for the audience to understand a world in which a new species has arisen and what they ultimately bring to the fate of the human race. Newcomer Sennia Nanua is electrifying in the lead role as the uncanny, infected child, uncertain of her own existence in a world eroding through the curse of the parasite taking over the population, whilst British mainstays Paddy Considine and Gemma Arterton give the film a slight B-Movie edge to it which harks back to the rough feel of a film like 28 Days Later. Surprisingly, the one thing that does seem rather out of place is the inclusion of Glenn Close who simply acts as the all-american basil exposition character who arguably becomes the least accessible character within the movie. The concluding act is terrifyingly subversive and saves the film from falling into a complete genre cliche whilst the sense of fear you would expect from a film within this particular genre is agonisingly nonexistent making The Girl With All The Gifts more of a delicate touch of drama rather than the full-on horror thrill ride I personally thought it might have been.

Overall Score: 7/10