‘The Dead Don’t Die’… And Neither Does Comedy! (Movie Review)

The Dead Don't Die Movie ReviewThe Dead Don’t Die… this movie came out of nowhere for me. This was not a highly anticipated film for me in the slightest. However, the film was a nice change of pace from the usual comic book flick, big action movie, or occasional remake that usually clutters the Summer box office. The Dead Don’t Die is fun! The cast is great! The acting, though wooden, works for the film these actors are in. As entertained as I was there were points during the film that I almost felt tempted to check its pulse… this one does drag a little with the pacing. To get a better idea let’s hop in the car, put on a little Sturgill Simpson, and  head to Centerville to see why the dead don’t want to die!

The Dead Don’t Die is a comedy/fantasy/horror written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. The film stars Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tom Waits, Chloe Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Eszter Balint, Danny Glover, Maya Delmont, Taliyah Whitaker, Jahi Di’Allo Winston, Selena Gomez, Kevin McCormick, Sid O’Connell, Caleb Landry Jones, RZA, Larry Fessenden and a few others. The film is produced by Joshua Astrachan and Carter Logan. The  producing duo were also producers on Jarmusch’s film Paterson (2016), that starred Adam Driver. It seems that this team is pretty tight and work well together. Though the film does hit some surprisingly good comedic beats the story is simply not enough to carry the film’s 1h 45min runtime. Let’s make a quick stop to fuel up and then we’ll head into town!

As mentioned before this was not an anticipated film for me. With the passing of Avengers: Endgame, Godzilla King of the Monsters, and even John Wick: Parabellum, I  was clueless at to what else was coming around the corner. Despite The Dead Don’t Die coming out of left field I was still willing to give it a shot. The big draw of this film for me was the fact that it reminded me of Zombieland (2009), or even Shaun of the Dead (2004), which in my opinion is one of the best modern zombie/horror/comedy films out there. The Dead Don’t Die stood out from these other zombie horror comedies just from the way the characters act in the film.

As many of you have probably seen from the trailers the acting is very wooden. The humor is very dry. However, the timing for jokes still will have you laughing out loud. Where the characters lack charisma they make up for this shortcoming with wit and occasionally self aware dialogue. They know what movie they are in.I love how unique each character is despite all of them delivering lines with the same level of blandness. I do not love how the film, unfortunately, has little direction to the story. Okay guys we’re here. Let’s unpack and check out the town.

The opening of the film introduces us to Chief Cliff Robertson (Murray) and Officer Ronnie Peterson (Driver) coming to confront Hermit Bob (Waits) about accusations of him stealing chickens from Farmer Frank Miller (Buscemi). The scene gets a few chuckles from the audience, but it’s ultimately when you get the interactions between Chief Robertson and Officer Peterson, on the way back to town, that you see this film is going to take its time building characters. There is a sequence showing the police cruiser passing through establishments in the town that later in the film organically introduce us to the rest of the characters. The connectivity in the film is well done. This is great!

The film also does an amazing job at building up the events to come later. The first zombie attack feels earned. The second attack turns into your standard zombie film “they taking over” portion of the film. Though this is standard affair you start to notice that the film decides to not so much “go off the rails”, but rather “stops short” to deliver a message that has been played out before. Though that does put a damper on film it does manage to be entertaining!

So at the end of the day what do we have on our hands? We have a film that is unique, but ultimately loses some direction towards the end. The cast is great! We have characters that are fun to watch despite them feeling as lifeless as the undead antagonists on screen. I would recommend anyone who is a huge zombie film buff to give it a watch. I believe overall that the film does deserve a watch. I was slightly disappointed by how things ended up, but like Officer Peterson remarks in the trailer “This isn’t going to end well”. Like I said though guys… seriously give it a watch! It is a good laugh and good alternative to some of the other films out there today.

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