The Dead Don’t Die is a horror comedy film that was written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. Releasing in 2019, it stars Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Danny Glover, Steve Buscemi and Selena Gomez.
Centerville police officers Cliff Robertson (Murray) and Ronnie Peterson (Driver) briefly confront local eccentric Hermit Bob in the woods. Afterwards, Cliff remarks that it is still daylight after 8pm while Ronnie notices his watch and cell phone have stopped working. A song called “The Dead Don’t Die” plays on the radio, which Ronnie tells Cliff is the theme song.
Cliff and Ronnie regroup with Mindy at the police station. The three officers discuss the strangeness around Centerville. At the diner, the waitress tells her customer Hank about Zelda Winston the odd new undertaker. Meanwhile, Zelda practices her sword skills in front of a Buddha statue in the funeral parlour. Two zombies obsessed with coffee reanimate when night finally falls and maul the two diner workers inside the diner. Hank summons Cliff, Ronnie, and Mindy to the diner when he discovers the bodies in the morning. Ronnie tells Cliff he believes zombies slaughtered them.
What is happening in Centerville?
The Dead Don’t Die is quite a strange film. The humour throughout is very dry and the line delivery is deadpan. At times, it feels reminiscent of Fargo by the Coen Brothers. This is in no way a bad thing but it won’t be for everyone. Although, comparing it to Fargo is too much of a compliment. There’s a hilarious gag after the bodies are discovered at the diner. One by one, each character arrives at the scene with each of them coming to the conclusion that “several animals” had slaughtered the workers. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the highlight of the movie.
One of the biggest crimes a film can commit is for it to feel like a waste of time. Sadly, The Dead Don’t Die does just that. Considering the excellent cast, it’s disappointing to say the least. All of the characters are completely pointless. In fact, they are barely characters at all. You learn nothing about any of them. This makes it hard to care when they randomly get killed in anti-climactic ways. Certain characters even die off screen which just compounds their worthlessness.
The zombies look good. You can tell it’s a homage to George Romero. The idea of them returning to repeat actions from their lives etc. Still, Romero didn’t need narration to explain the metaphor he was attempting to display.
As I said, they look decent. Although, everything looks rubbish in comparison to TV shows like The Walking Dead. I mention that because Tilda Swinton plays a character that wields a sword. It’s hard not to view it as a rip-off of Michonne.
Also, the rules for the zombies are very inconsistent. It’s established that simply removing the head won’t do the job. It’s specifically shown and yet the characters keep doing it.
Finally, the ending is all kinds of weirdness. There’s a huge breaking the fourth wall moment that I hated. I wouldn’t have minded but it isn’t funny in the slightest and makes no sense. Ultimately, The Dead Don’t Die tries way too hard to be random and just ends up feeling pointless. Even the gore is lacking. A film that isn’t sure what it wants to be or even what story it’s trying to tell.
The Dead Don't Die
The Final Score - 3/10
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