The Dead Don’t Die (2019)

dead dont die poster 2019 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Great cast, interesting themes

Despite new spin, film feels like rehash of themes of Dawn of the Dead

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Dead Don’t Die

Studio: Kill the Head

Genre(s): Horror/Comedy

Release Date(s):  May 14, 2019 (Cannes)/June 14, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

dead dont die iggy pop zombie

He’s got a lust for life…

In the small town of Centerville, things are happening. Animals are disappearing and the Earth’s rotation might have been altered by fracking leading to endless days and nights. Officers Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) and Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver) are dealing with a bigger problem. It seems that the dead have decided to return to life and are beginning to kill the population of Centerville. As the people of Centerville begin to come to terms with what is going on, the situation might be too dire to change.

Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, The Dead Don’t Die is a meta-horror comedy. The film premiered at Cannes in 2019 and was released in the United States later that year. It was met with mixed reviews.

I was kind of excited by The Dead Don’t Die. Jarmusch isn’t a typical director and his spin on horror and the popular zombie genre could have proved impressive. With a great and expansive cast, I really hoped for more from the film though it still does have some valid parts.

dead dont die tilda swinton zombies

I’d watch a whole movie with her

The movie is intentionally downplayed. The characters don’t seem all that impressed that the dead are coming back and it is almost more of a hassle for them. The apathy of the characters is reflected in the zombies who have little interests other than what was important to them in their previous lives. This vapid attitude falls in with the idea that the people did this to themselves through pollution and fracking…and they pay for it. The movie is wrapped up in a meta-moment where “the script” is referenced and how characters know what is going to happen, but still fall into the trap (kind of like ignoring all of the warnings that the dangers to the environment are bad but still not doing anything).

The cast is awesome. You have Bill Murray and Adam Driver who both have a deadpan nature that plays off of each other…it almost becomes who is more deadpan. You have Tilda Swinton who is always odd playing an odd Scottish coroner. Chloë Sevigny who generally plays the odd character is the only character who seems to be reacting to everything appropriately. The movie also features Rosie Perez, Danny Glover, Steve Buscemi, Iggy Pop, RZA, Carol Kane, and Selena Gomez. I like Tom Waits as the essentially the homeless narrator who does see the mistakes of man.

dead dont die adam driver bill murray

The final stand!

The movie doesn’t look bad. I like that the zombies are essentially empty dust inside and not gushing blood and guts (it fits the theme), but there have been so many zombie movies and zombies have been done better. The film spend a lot of time in the dark once the zombies show up, and it isn’t always easy to see.

The bigger problem with the ideas of this movie is that I kind of feel that it is the same message of Dawn of the Dead (both versions). The characters are morally bankrupt and just sleepwalk through life and do the same thing when they are dead as a result. It is still a powerful message, but it doesn’t feel as original as it could feel…which is kind of a disappointment considering the players and creator.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response