I gave up on The Walking Dead. It was slow-paced, repetitive torture porn with a cast of unlikeable characters. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was a classic that reinvigorated the genre by attaching themes of infection and social collapse to an existing idea, but his stuff was getting formulaic in the sequels — it’s gotten calcified and uncreative. I liked Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die, but it was more of a knowing, self-referential wink at all zombie films, with a cast that knew all of the zombie tropes and went through the expected motions. It ought to have punctured the whole genre and ended it, but I think the title was another self-aware joke. Dead movie ideas don’t die, they get endlessly recycled.
There’s another way we know zombie movies are creatively bankrupt: we’ve entered the “Abbot and Costello meets…” phase of their existence. The fear is gone, the plots are predictable, so let’s milk it for comedy now. Worse still, we’re getting sequels to mocking comedy takes on the zombie movies.
Yeah, I saw Zombieland: Double Tap last night. It shambled onto the screen like a microwaved platter of dried-out raw brains, and it strained to provide some manic flavor to old jokes and random plot shifts, tired and pointless cameos, and a feeble attempt to add some challenge by saying that zombies had “evolved” and there was a new type that was harder to kill…but that just meant they had to fire their big guns with infinite ammunition a dozen times to achieve the same effect, a dead splattered zombie. Dreary, unfunny, and I don’t care how often Woody Harrelson yells, throws a tantrum, and blows stuff up, totally lacking in tension.
I have a better title for it: Zombieland: Tapped Out.