“The Dead Don’t Die” stars Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, RZA, Carol Kane, Selena Gomez, and Tom Waits. Released on June 14, 2019, the film has a police force protecting their small town from a zombie invasion.
The film is written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, who also directed films such as “Stranger Than Paradise”, “Mystery Train”, “Dead Man”, “Only Lovers Left Alive”, and “Paterson”. Zombie movies can be just as terrifying as any other horror film in general if they play their cards right. From “Night of the Living Dead” to “World War Z”, these types of films will make you wish that the zombie apocalypse will never come. Aside from straight-up zombie films, there are ones that combine this horror genre with action and/or comedy, such as the “Resident Evil” films, “Shaun of the Dead”, and “Zombieland”. This film is the example of the latter. This one took me a while to get to for a couple of reasons. One of those reasons is that it wasn’t able to play at my closest theater until the last weekend of June, two weeks after its official release. Another reason: time and money. So, for those who are waiting to read my thoughts on this film, I apologize for the delay and I hope this review is worth the wait for you. I’ve been hearing plenty of mixed responses for this one. Some say it was good, some say it was a disappointment, and some say that it was just plain weird. After finally watching it for myself, where does my verdict stand? Let’s find out.
The story centers on different groups of characters and their reactions to the strange events that are happening in their small town, including the rise of the undead. As they prepare for the end of the world, these characters will need to either survive the zombie apocalypse or become their midnight snacks. This is one of those films that will solely depend on your taste in filmmaking. On the one hand, it's a zombie comedy that offers a unique tone that's both amusing and odd. On the other hand, it's a solidly crafted film that may or may not turn modern moviegoers off due to its slow pacing and its lack of excitement in its concept. For me, personally, it's an enjoyable experience that offered something different for the genre, but it sadly didn't do that much else to consider it a zombie comedy classic. The film features an A-list cast that range from Bill Murray to Tom Waits, and their performances were pretty solid. Adam Driver, who plays one of the police officers, was probably the best part of the film, in my opinion, in terms of how he delivers the jokes. Speaking of which, the humor in the film was filled with jokes that were both deadpan and self-aware. Most of the humor didn’t quite hit the right marks as much as it wanted to, but it did have a few scenes that made me laugh and question about its abnormalities, including the ones that involve Driver’s character. I also thought the film’s screenplay was average at best despite having some well-written jokes. The story offered a pretty interesting perspective of the events that lead to the end of the human race, but as the film went on, it slowly started to become just another zombie film that turns its fleshed-out characters into the undead’s all-you-can-eat buffet. However, to be fair, the film did a much better job at displaying that scenario compared to how “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” represented it.
Overall, “The Dead Don’t Die” is unique and bizarre in its own right, but they’re not enough to make people’s heads roll in a good way. Jim Jarmusch has crafted a well-displayed and tightly-shot zom-com that features a solid cast and a series of clever deadpan jokes. However, it might not appeal to everyone due to its pacing, its average script, and its inability to provide a sense of excitement. As a typical comedy about zombies killing people, it didn’t quite reach the same standards as the other zombie comedies like “Shaun of the Dead” and “Zombieland”. As an independent film about zombies killing people, I would say it gets a pass for being something different. It’s definitely one of the weirdest films I’ve ever encountered, but it’s not something that I would go back to immediately.