The Dead Don’t Die is a zombie horror comedy written and directed by Jim Jarmusch (“Only Lovers Left Alive”), and featuring a cast of great actors, including Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Tilda Swinton, Tom Waits, Danny Glover, Carol Kane, and Rosie Perez.
In the film, small town police officers Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) and Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver) respond to a report from farmer Frank Miller (Steve Buscemi) regarding a missing chicken.
As the day progresses, strange things keep happening: Cliff notices there is still daylight after 8 pm; Ronnie’s watch and cell phone stop working; and there’s a news report about polar fracking.
When the Sturgill Simpson song “The Dead Don’t Die” plays on the radio, Ronnie tells Cliff it is the theme song. Which is a strange thing for a character to say, right? …”theme song for what?” asks Cliff.
Yup, it’s foreshadowing the zombies that start roaming town, killing people. Yet, even the zombies have quirks – two kill the waitresses in the diner, then go on a coffee binge before leaving.
That evening, more zombies rise, and Cliff and Ronnie bring supplies to the station to tell Officer Mindy Morrison (Chloë Sevigny) what’s happening. Meanwhile mortician Zelda (Tilda Swinton) is dispatching zombies of her own at the funeral home.
As the zombies become more prolific, the main characters realize how doomed they are. I can’t reveal more without giving away the ending.
When I first saw the trailer for The Dead Don’t Die, I was most excited about the cast of the film. But if you go into this thinking you’re going to get a coherent zombie story, you’ll be disappointed.
The script is just an excuse for the quality caliber of actors to be silly and nonsensical, and at the end, there’s an unrelated twist at the end that has nothing to do with zombies.
The film also suffers from a need to be extremely self-aware it’s a zombie movie, to the point it even breaks the fourth wall to point out it’s a movie.
I really wanted to like it more, but I’m just giving The Dead Don’t Die a 3 out of 5 stars.
THE DEAD DON’T DIE (2019)
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Cast: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Tilda Swinton, Tom Waits, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, Rosie Perez, Iggy Pop, Carol Kane, Selena Gomez, RZA, Carol Kane
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