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The zombies have evolved in “Zombieland: Double Tap”; the comedy not so much. But that’s OK, because Ruben Fleischer’s 2009 breakout hit — which gobbled up $75.6 million in a genre fast approaching its pop-culture saturation point — was already a few steps ahead of the curve: Its central quartet actually knew they were living in a walking-dead movie and were therefore armed to defend themselves against a breed of modern horror baddies to which previous film characters had been frustratingly slow to adapt.
Even zom-com classic “Shaun of the Dead” recycled the drawn-out routine where characters take a long time to catch on to the fact that an infected loved one is gradually transforming into a flesh-eater, too. “Zombieland,” by contrast, was blessedly meta — and downright irreverent about it — taking place it a world where the idea of zombies was already widespread, giving its ensemble a Darwinian advantage for the termination of the species.
Night - Living - Dead - People - Time
When “The Night of the Living Dead” broke out for real, most people were too dumb to react in time, leaving just four survivors uninfected: a nervous neurotic (Jesse Eisenberg) whose long list of over-cautious rules had kept him alive, a super-aggressive 2nd Amendment enthusiast (Woody Harrelson) downright eager to blow away brain-eaters, and two quick-witted sisters (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) who got by on their to-each-her-own philosophy. Rather than getting attached, lest they be required to kill one another, the gang referred to one another by their home towns — Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock, respectively — and wound up forming a kind of ersatz family. Comedy legend Bill Murray wasn’t so lucky, as return viewers will recall.
In the “Zombieland” universe itself, less has changed. The core four are still together, this virtual family growing more dysfunctional by the day. Meanwhile, a...
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