In the sleepy small town of Centerville, something is not quite right. The moon hangs large and low in the sky, the hours of daylight are becoming unpredictable, and animals are beginning to exhibit unusual behaviors. No one quite knows why. News reports are scary and scientists are concerned. But no one foresees the strangest and most dangerous repercussion that will soon start plaguing Centerville: The Dead Don’t Die — they rise from their graves and savagely attack and feast on the living, and the citizens of the town must battle for their survival.
From writer-director Jim Jarmusch (Paterson, Gimme Danger) comes a star-studded horror comedy featuring an ensemble cast of Jarmusch regulars (Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloë Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Iggy Pop, Steve Buscemi, Tom Waits) and newcomers to the fold (Selena Gomez, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, Carol Kane) in a raucous, rueful and satirical glimpse at American habits and desires at the end of the world — a comically terrifying state of the nation addressed in a true cinematic original.
What We Thought:
The Dead Don’t Die wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but that’s partially my fault. If you watch the trailer below it seems pretty fast paced. Now if you know the work of Jim Jarmusch then expecting a fast paced movie is definitely wrong. Jarmusch (like Wes Anderson) could be his own genre. His films are always very methodical, well shot and different. This is different for sure and I liked a lot of it and liked it overall.
The biggest positive is that it feels like an homage to George A. Romero. The late director pretty much established the zombie genre as we know it. You see his influence in this movie with many shots looking straight out of Night of the Living Dead and Selena Gomez’s character driving the same car from that movie. One of my biggest pet peeves of the zombie genre is that the characters don’t know about zombies. You watch a zombie movie or TV show and the characters don’t know how to kill zombies or how to survive. Not this movie. Horror especially zombie horror is well established in this world with Adam Driver even suggesting early on they are dealing with zombies.
It’s also pretty funny. Of course you expect Bill Murray to be funny, but Driver always surprises me when he makes me laugh. Tilda Swinton is always weird and she is here but she gets laughs as does Steve Buscemi, Tom Waits and the rest of the cast. It’s not quite Shaun of the Dead funny, but it’s a lot more comical than the average Jarmusch flick.
The biggest negative is there is so much unnecessary stuff going on. Sure that’s also a trademark of Jarmusch, but a lot could be cut. There is a substory with kids at a detention center that is 100% pointless. Ultimately the Gomez and friends stuff could be gone or even the Tilda Swinton nonsense but Jarmusch is known for randomness.
I wanted to love The Dead Don’t Die based on the trailer, but I only liked it. I think I could see myself watching it again at some point and did love the homage to Romero. It gets weird, self-aware and slow at times, but if you want something different and like his films, check it out.
Directed by: Jim Jarmusch
Written by: Jim Jarmusch
Opening Date: June 14th
Running Time: 104 minutes
Genre: Zombie Comedy
MPAA Rating: R for zombie violence/gore, and for language