In Theaters: The Dead Don’t Die

The Dead Don’t Die (2019)
Directed By: Jim Jarmusch
Written By: Jim Jarmusch

This movie claims to have the greatest cast ever assembled for a zombie film and they’re probably not wrong. Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Rosie Perez, Iggy Pop, RZA, Selena Gomez and Tom Waits. That’s quite a cast. Does it make for a good movie though? I didn’t think so at first but the more I have thought about The Dead Don’t Die, the more I am convinced that it’s great.

Jarmusch is an interesting guy. His approach to filmmaking (especially screenwriting) is wholly original. That’s the case with this movie as well. It’s a zombie movie unlike any other. There is a ton of comedy but it also effectively makes you believe that any of the characters can die at anytime and these characters are likeable people, you don’t want to see them die. There are a couple of great running jokes throughout the film and I don’t like the explanation given for either of them. I dislike them so much in fact that I think those two moments in the film are what gave me a bad first impression of the movie. Looking back, I still don’t like them, but I can see all of the other great moments that The Dead Don’t Die contains.

The cast delivers. Everyone I listed above is on their game. Adam Driver is suddenly an actor that I’m excited to see on-screen. Between this and his performance in Blackkklansman he has become one of my favorite young actors. He has some of the best lines in The Dead Don’t Die and he makes a perfect pairing with Bill Murray. There isn’t a bad performance in the film, Driver just stole the movie for me.

Reaction to this movie hasn’t been great, especially in the horror community. I think that’s mostly do to the fact that The Dead Don’t Die is more of a horror adjacent comedy than anything else. It appeals to a horror audience because it has zombies but there aren’t many true horror moments. Horror-comedies always end up with a mixed reaction. Some people just hate the mixing of the two. You’re going to be much better served going into this film thinking of it as a comedy with zombies than you are as a horror film of any kind. Let the two or three horrific things be a nice bonus on top of that. See The Dead Don’t Die though, if nothing else it is a fresh take on a sub-genre that has grown horribly stale.

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