I enjoyed the first Zombiesas a cute little allegory for tweens and teens with some catchy songs and dancing. Both Disney Channel and Netflix have done a great job in the last decade of creating entertainment that appeals to the kids in the 9-14 demographic. This is important because it is a very underserved audience with a lot of content made for younger and then older groups but not much for those in between. What is particularly nice about Zombies is it tries to do more than entertain by starting a discussion about tolerance and acceptance. It’s still the bubblegum fun of the other musical series like High School Musical and Descendants, but it adds a layer that hopefully will start discussions amongst families and lead to kinder treatment of misfits in middle and high schools around the country.
Now Zombies 2 comes along, and we get to see how Zed (Milo Manheim) and Addison (Meg Donnelly) are doing and how the town of Seabrook is doing not only accepting zombies but a new group of outcasts: werewolves.
It is a little bit of a shame that the creators of Zombies 2 have basically retold the first movie all over again but with a new minority to persecute. On the other hand, tolerance is a lesson that seems to require continual re-learning by our civilization, so I suppose it makes sense to keep teaching our teens about it.
I also did not think that the choreography and dance sequences were as strong as in the first film. That said, the leads are very well cast, and Manheim and Donnelly have both great chemistry and good singing chops. The songs are very catchy especially the climactic ‘Flesh and Bone’, which is the highlight of the whole film.
I hope for Zombies 3 that they push themselves and their audience a little harder and don’t just introduce another third group of outcasts. Let’s move on from learning to not exclude people to the next step of doing good and making the world a better place. Young people need to learn those skills as much if not more than simply stopping hate from happening. Let’s get our zombies/werewolves/teens storming Congress in the next film! It could be great!
Even with its flaws, Zombies 2 does what it needs to do. It has a positive message with a charismatic cast and energetic musical performances. I enjoyed it, and more importantly I think its target demographic will really enjoy it, so job well done Disney Channel!
Rachel is a rottentomatoes approved film critic that has loved animation since she was a little girl belting out songs from 'The Little Mermaid'. She reviews as many films as she can each year and loves interviewing actors, directors, and anyone with an interesting story to tell. Rachel is the founder of the popular Hallmarkies Podcast, and the Rachel's Reviews podcast/youtube channel, which covers all things animated including a monthly Talking Disney and Obscure Animation show.