Zombieland: Double Tap (MA)
Ruben Fleischer's 2009 comedy Zombieland was a breath of fresh air for a genre of horror that was already feeling a little stale, and hadn't yet been further corporatised with the admittedly great television series The Walking Dead.
In the first film, Jesse Eisenberg's goofy teen Columbus, in voiceover to the action, explains that the world hadn't changed too much for him since something happened that turned the human population of the planet into flesh-eating zombies. He was already a socially isolated weirdo, and as the film progresses he slowly drops the isolation, building around him a family of sorts in action man and father figure Tallahasse (Woody Harrelson), girlfriend Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin).
That film had two great gags, one of which was to have Columbus's complex rules for staying alive appear on the screen as he says them, including Number 1: Cardio, Number 17: Don't Be A Hero, and 31: Check The Back Seat.
That last one should be an essential for any character in a horror film.
That film was sweet and funny, investing far more in the gags than in the incidental horror.
For many sequels, bigger is better, but in the case of this sequel, it is a case of Same Same But Different.
As in real life, it is 10 years on and our characters have kept themselves successfully alive by avoiding the undead, but also by avoiding the still-alive humans out there.
How have they managed this?
Some of the film's earlier scenes show the foursome holed up for a number of years in a vacant White House, Wichita and Columbus shacked up in the Lincoln bedroom and freaked out by the staring eyes of the great President in his painting.
The plot gets moving when Little Rock sneaks away, leaving the safety of the foursome, looking for interactions with humans her own age.
Abigail Breslin was still only 13 when the first film shot and so is still the believably annoyingly centennial in this film.
The grown-ups hit the road after her, eventually coming across this films one only great gag when they come face-to-face with another team of survivalists that seem like a weird alternate-universe version of themselves with Luke Wilson's action man father figure Albuquerque, Thomas Middledith's socially isolated weirdo Flagstaff who spouts his own alternate set of numbered rules for survival, and Rosario Dawson's sensible Nevada.
While it lasts it's a great set of running gags, however any fan of the genre will have already enjoyed this same laugh in Edgar Wright's wonderful 2004 film Shawn of the Dead.
All the ingredients that made the first film so successful are there.
The writing team of Dave Callaham (who was penned the upcoming Wonder Woman film), and writing partners Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (who might have used their better stuff on the Deadpool films), director Fleischer, and their entire original cast who must have become even more expensive to wrangle in the decade since.
So it feels doubly frustrating that with all this great they give more of the same from the first film.
But this isn't as harsh a criticism as its reads - because that first film is a classic that I've watched maybe a dozen times and I can see myself doing the same with this one.