The Dead Don’t Die is a zombie horror comedy from Jim Jarmusch looked amazing from the trailer…
The premise is that time’s not behaving. It’s the summer and it’s not getting dark when it should. Whatever’s going on is causing the earth’s rotation to change… and that means zombies!
Sounds great, right? Let’s explore the reasons why The Dead Don’t Die is not:
- 1. There’s a knowing moment that’s really weird, when we hear the opening theme again. Cop Cliff (Bill Murray) asks why does it sound familiar, and cop Ronnie (Adam Driver) replies that’s because it’s the theme song. Cue a usual far-off look from Murray, where this time, he’s just not showing any effort being made. Shame as I normally love his laidback, laconic style, as it’s a great draw for films now he’s in his older years.
2. While it’s potentially amusing to see Iggy Pop as a zombie, it’s like one of those one-joke movies where you’ve seen it once, and don’t need to see it again. Thankfully, it’s just the one scene but it goes on forever.
3. Tilda Swinton is a weird Scottish embalmer, who’s also a master swordswoman, or should that be mistress swordswoman? Either way, she’s just weird for the sake of being weird, and this feels a bit pointless.
And some more…
- 4. George Romero also gets a namecheck from film fan Bobby Wiggins (Caleb Landry Jones), but this film couldn’t even lick his shoes with the zombie movies he made such as Dawn Of The Dead, and for something more modern, even the umpteenth showing of Shaun Of The Dead on ITV2 is more original and engaging than this.
5. Movie references come up several times in this, such as how Adam Driver has a Star Wars keychain for his car keys, and as you’ll know, he also plays Kylo Ren in the ongoing, and disappointing, Star Wars trilogy, albeit not as terrible, overall, as the one George Lucas gave us from 1999 onwards.
I had a couple of minor laughs, but aside from that, it had so much potential that went untapped. We were introduced to characters who had a lot more to offer, but were either quickly attacked by zombies before you even cared about said characters, or were killed off screen, and only seen when they were mere carcasses.
And remember that earlier mention of Ronnie referring to the theme song that we heard? Yes, there’s a few “we know we’re in a film”-type lines, and every single one of them falls as flat as a pancake.
Overall, this is a perfect example of a film I was really looking forward to, but when I saw it, I was massively disappointed, as it’s incredibly dull.
Running time: 104 minutes
Release date: July 12th 2019
Studio: Universal Pictures UK
Format: 1.85:1 (Angenieux 28-76 Optimo + extender, Angenieux 45-135 EZ, Arri Alexa LF, Arri DNA primes)
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Producers: Joshua Astrachan, Carter Logan
Screenplay: Jim Jarmusch
Chief Cliff Robertson: Bill Murray
Officer Ronnie Peterson: Adam Driver
Hermit Bob: Tom Waits
Officer Mindy Morrison: Chloë Sevigny
Farmer Frank Miller: Steve Buscemi
Fern: Eszter Balint
Hank Thompson: Danny Glover
Stella: Maya Delmont
Olivia: Taliyah Whitaker
Geronimo: Jahi Winston
Bobby Wiggins: Caleb Landry Jones
Danny Perkins: Larry Fessenden
Posie Juarez: Rosie Perez
Mallory O’Brien: Carol Kane
Zelda Winston: Tilda Swinton
Female Coffee Zombie: Sara Driver
Male Coffee Zombie: Iggy Pop
Zoe: Selena Gomez
Jack: Austin Butler
Zack: Luka Sabbat
Guitar Zombie: Sturgill Simpson
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.