Release Date: June 14th, 2019
Cast: Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Chloe Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Tom Waits, and More!
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Studio: Animal Kingdom
Distributor: Focus Features
IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | Wikipedia
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Jim Jarmusch’s zombie romp assembles an incredible cast to deliver deadpan comedy.
Strange things are afoot in the town of Centerville (in the vicinity of Intercourse, according to a TV report in the film). It’s day light for extended hours, animals are running off into the woods, oh, and the dead are coming back to life. Handling these changes are police officers Chief Cliff Robertson (Murray), Officer Ronnie Peterson (Driver), and Officer Mindy Morrison (Sevigny) as well as a host of strange townsfolk in various roles big and small.
Lest you think this is going to be a traditional zombie movie, or heck even a traditional movie let me dissuade you of that notion. No, The Dead Don’t Die is a peculiar take on the trope, and makes it immediately known that we shouldn’t take everything on screen at face value. In fact, whatever value you think is being imparted might not be there at all.
It bends through the fourth wall and back again, using strange referential humor and doing what only movies can do so well. It’s a comedy, with zombies. I want to say that because I think the wave of mixed reviews may be due to people not knowing what to expect when they go into the theater. I didn’t and I was so delighted by the surprise, but not everyone would have that experience.
You could go over to the wiki page right now and read the plot in full and yet you still wouldn’t get what makes The Dead Don’t Die special. The humor, the delivery (‘ghouls’ has never been said with so many syllables), and the interactions between characters is not something you can simply read and enjoy as it should be.
As with all zombie flicks, there’s the subtext of consumerism, the existential dread of sleepwalking through our lives, and all those usual parallels. Though here, Jarmusch makes that subtext just flat out text much to our enjoyment.
It’s a funny flick, you’ll be laughing regularly at the absurdity, if you are in the mood for it. If you are looking for a bloody, gore-ride, look elsewhere. When zombies are dispatched their innards mostly turn to dust in the wind. The Dead Don’t Die is something special, but perhaps like human flesh its a bit of an acquired taste.