The peaceful town of Centerville finds itself battling a zombie horde as the dead start rising from their graves.
‘The Dead Don’t Die’ is an offbeat zombie comedy that spends more time ambling along than on confronting the undead that are starting to take over the sleepy small town of Centreville, USA. It’s directed by Jim Jarmusch and would make for a good double bill with his 12th film ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’, a tale of two vampires that shares this film’s low key sensibility and approach. Of course, that would require you to like Jarmusch’s work, and I’ve been indifferent to the three films of his I’ve seen so far, including ‘The Dead Don’t Die’, which never really gets going for me.
‘The Dead Don’t Die’ features an ensemble cast, primarily led by two cops (Bill Murray and Adam Driver), who find themselves taking on the undead when they aren’t breaking the fourth wall and musing on the script. The material is deliberately underplayed, with the characters just accepting the presence of zombies as opposed to fighting or questioning their presence (citing climate change is the film’s lazy answer for the phenomenon). I felt the film was far too knowing and smug for its own good, and the meta stuff didn’t work at all for me, despite the amiable presences of Murray and Driver. The film stumbles along in a pleasant enough way – it’s never really boring but it never takes off either, which is a comment I could level at ‘Paterson’ and ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’, the director’s last two feature films.
The small town weirdness is ‘Twin Peaks-esque’ but I didn’t think Jarmusch managed to balance the different tones and characters in a satisfying way, and ‘The Dead Don’t Die’ is ultimately fairly forgettable once the credits have rolled. Given the impressive cast, that’s something of a waste.
Directed By: Jim Jarmusch
Starring: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, Selena Gomez, Rosie Perez, Iggy Pop, Sara Driver, RZA, Carol Kane, Austin Butler, Eszter Balint, Larry Fessenden and Tom Waits