The Dead Don’t Die: Film Review

I was excited about Jim Jarmusch‘s new zombie comedy, The Dead Don’t Die, because I like so many members of the ridiculously amazing star-studded cast, but to say I was let down is quite the understatement.

The film is set in the fictional small town of Centerville, USA, where the dead are reanimating because the Earth has been shifted off its axis as a result of polar fracking. It follows the town’s inhabitants, mainly police officers Cliff (Bill Murray), Ronnie (Adam Driver) and Mindy (Chloe Sevigny) and Scottish undertaker Zelda (Tilda Swinton), as they deal with the zombie apocalypse.

The concept has been done many times but I like zombie movies so a comedic take sounded cool and I thought it was going to be a lot of fun. But it’s not. The Dead Don’t Die is slow, dull and not very funny. The pacing is totally off, it’s too long and it takes forever to get going so it just doesn’t feel exciting at all. It also has no depth – it consists of that one plot I described above and that’s literally it.

The jokes are super dry and told in a deadpan manner that won’t work for everyone and there were some meta ones that were far too obvious. I like meta jokes sometimes – it works in Deadpool, for example – but here I found them weird and jarring. I laughed a handful of times but I definitely wouldn’t consider it as “laugh out loud hilarious” as the poster suggests.

Jarmusch seems to have used the concept to imply that this generation are zombies and just going through life mindlessly glued to our phones and obsessed with buying things. This isn’t very well written though. Neither are the characters. You don’t know who any of them really are – they are very thinly drawn – so you don’t care about their fate.

The cast may be awesome but it was totally unnecessary to have a cast so big because barely any of them contribute anything. The film spends a great deal of time introducing all these characters which turns out to be a waste of time. What was the point of Zoe (Selena Gomez)? She was barely there and didn’t do anything. It was cool to see the likes of Steve Buscemi, Tom Waits, Caleb Landry Jones, and Danny Glover though.

Luckily, Swinton and Driver save the day. She is absolutely glorious as this mysterious samurai sword-wielding undertaker who is so bonkers and weird that I couldn’t help but laugh. I wanted to see more of this badass character, who seemed to be the only one capable of handling herself. I think Driver is brilliant all the time and that was no different here – he was awkward, a bit dorky and quite attractive, I must say.

The Dead Don’t Die started off well, with a growing sense of foreshadowing and signs of bad things to come, and it was cool seeing such a star-studded cast ensembled onscreen, but it was just so slow, boring and not funny enough. Such a shame.

In cinemas Friday 12th July

Rating: 2/5

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