On Feb. 14, 2020, Disney Channel Original Movies released the 2-year long-awaited sequel to Z-O-M-B-I-E-S, the original film that was released in 2018. The first film was a love story between a human girl and a zombie boy who meet during their freshman year of high school. Zombies aren’t allowed to attend school with human kids, but for the first time ever they were being allowed which was sure to cause issues. At the end of the movie, they’ve managed to unify the two towns in the movie, Zombietown and Seabrook, to create a unified society.
Z-O-M-B-I-E-S 2 picks up a semester later, showing that things are still improving for the Zombies. Zed, the main male protagonist of the movie even states that “things are getting better every day.” However, in the opening song, we see that there is still a good deal of prejudice against the Zombies, as well as Addison, who’s hair is stark white. The Zombies have now joined school activities – one of the other male characters, Bonzo, is in cheer and band, which, having done myself, I can say is no easy feat – and started to integrate into society.
Some people are stuck in their ways and still see Zombies as outsiders. To rectify this, Zed decides to run for student body president. However, he has his own motives behind it as well. Due to his ‘Prawn-posal’ – Prawn being Seabrook’s version of Prom, using a clever naming technique based off the school mascot being a shrimp, or in the United Kingdom, a Prawn – going awry, the school bus carrying the cheer squad returning from cheer camp crashed in the Forbidden Forest. After a crash, in which no one was hurt because it’s a Disney movie, Addison runs into the forest looking for Zed who was atop the bus when it crashed.
The Werewolves, who were thought to be a myth spread by the settlers of Seabrook, are actually very real and spot Addison. Due to her white hair and appearance being similar to that of their “Great Alpha,” a white-haired female who would lead them to greatness, the Werewolves decide they must track Addison down as she will know where their moonstone is. It’s explained that in the legends passed down by the Elders, the moonstone is the only thing that can give the Werewolves their powers and save them.
Due to them crashing the school, the monster laws are reenacted and Zombies can no longer attend the Prawn. Eventually, Addison ends up with the Werewolves and believes herself to be one. Zed steals the necklace that would reveal if she is and it causes him to go wild and lose the election. Meanwhile, the werewolves start to become sick from the lack of the stone. Addison discovers what Zed did and the two have a fight and temporarily break up.
As this is happening, the demolition that Zed had put into action at the beginning of the movie is finally about to happen.
The werewolves, zombies and Addison all come to the realization that the stone the werewolves are looking for is actually under the old power plant and if it’s torn down then they’ll lose the stone forever and eventually die. The demolition is stopped, but we find out that the key got stuck so the building is going to blow anyway. It does, leaving the werewolves heartbroken. They later crash the Prawn, because what else is there to do when your mystical life stone is destroyed and your whole species might die out?
During the Prawn, there’s an earthquake that reveals the stone was simply buried, not destroyed. Zed, discovering he can control his zombie side now moves the stone back out of the rubble alongside the werewolves, humans and other zombies.
Finally, they are in the gymnasium to celebrate. At the end of the movie, zombies, werewolves and humans are all united in the town and Addison’s hair glows blue during a meteor shower, leaving room for a sequel.
When the movie opened, I was disappointed. After the unity and “we’re all one” theme of the last movie, it seemed like not much had changed. Sure, the zombies were free to integrate with the citizens of Seabrook, and they now had opportunities available to them, but there was still a heavy amount of prejudice. During the cheerleading scenes, it was obvious that they still thought badly of the zombie cheerleaders. I was confused until I realized it was a metaphor for life.
Whenever there’s change – be it new people or be it a new law – people tend to not accept it right away. For example, desegregation happened years ago, but there are still issues today. Since then, other nationalities have migrated to our country and they aren’t always accepted right away, or really completely at all.
The movie was, as a whole, better than the first in my opinion. The songs, costumes and storyline were more well done. Actors with brilliant voices shined more in this movie than the previous, and they added new and upcoming stars.
In terms of taking steps Disney has never done before, during the Prawn scene they featured two of the cheerleaders in pantsuits! The idea of women wearing non-traditional dresses or clothing to proms has been a controversial point in our society, and Disney has always tried to stay away from that it seemed, wanting to stick to their whole idea of “little girls/young women are princesses.” However, showing that girls can still be feminine and not wear a dress if they don’t want to is a step in the right direction in my opinion.
The theme of “different but same” carried through this movie from the first. The stigma behind “monsters” was very prevalent, shown by the fact that when the werewolves arrived, the anti-monster laws were reenacted, making it tough for zombies again. This plays on the whole idea that no matter if someone “isn’t that person” they’re still lumped with the “bad” ones as long as they can be called the same. This is true in society too. When someone does something bad and they’re from a stigmatized societal group, the entire group then gets the blame for it and people begin to throw shade and hate at anyone who “looks like the bad guy.”
When Addison wants so badly to be a werewolf just to find where she fits in, Zed is entirely against it. He doesn’t want her to be a monster because he’s one, and he knows how hard it is. This carries heavy tones of self-hatred. It could be said that the self-hatred stems from the stigma surrounding his race. That self-hatred is not all that uncommon amongst our society either.
Z-O-M-B-I-E-S 2 continues to pave the road it began in the first movie, and the hope for a sequel runs strong among fans. The hope is that other Disney televised movies will follow this formula and keep making advances.