The Dead Don’t Die – 1 out of 5
I’ve been a zombie fan since my father first showed me Night of the Living Dead when I was just a little kid, around 10 or so. There was something cool about the undead creatures. They were monsters that were people you know and love but, at the same time, they weren’t because they were just soulless reanimated husks. Over the years, I’ve consumed every bit of zombie media I could get my hands on and have spent my fair share of time daydreaming about a zombie apocalypse. I never thought a day would come where I have grown exhausted by these monstrosities but it seems the day has arrived. The Walking Dead no longer keeps my interest and zombie movies feel like they are getting lazier and lazier. Then I watched Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die and I realized I need a long break from zombies.
|Characters having no energy and looking bored...must be a Jarmusch film.|
Things are wonky in the rural town of Centerville. After polar fracking altered the Earth’s rotation, the dead have started to rise and attack the living. Now Chief Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) and his officers Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver) and Mindy Morrison (Chlöe Sevigny) are out to try and stop the growing hordes and save the city.
|If The Dead Don't Die was playing in that police car I would jump into that|
horde of zombies without thinking twice.
|In another movie, having Iggy Pop as a zombie might|
be fun but, in this one, it just made me shrug
I don’t consider myself a fan of Jim Jarmusch. I like Coffee and Cigarettes and I think Broken Flowers is okay but his stuff has always been a little too dry for my tastes. The Dead Don’t Die definitely won’t make me a fan because I found this film to be a complete and utter mess. Mixing genres is a fine thing but also a tricky thing and Jarmusch is just trying to do too much with this film—and then gets super pretentious at the end. The film is attempting to be a horror and a comedy but also tries to be meta at random and arbitrary points in the story and then gets absurdist with its ending. Add in Jarmusch’s usual dry delivery and it made for a film that dragged constantly and felt like it had no idea what it wanted to be. Matters are only made worse when you take into consideration the extremely large cast—that also included Tom Waits, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Tilda Swinton, Iggy Pop, RZA, Rosie Perez, Carol Kane and Selena Gomez—and it results in a story that has a ton of characters and almost none of them have any development whatsoever. The film ends up taking an appearance of a slow-moving (like a zombie) mess of tones and random scenes of depthless characters just going through the motions of a story that felt more like an outline than a tale.
|Tilda Swinton was the best part of the film and I can't figure out if it was because|
of her presence or because her character was cool.
The film also has this real pretentious feel. The whole product felt like Jarmusch was mocking people who like zombie films. Then he ends the film with a voice-over monologue that talked about how “we’re all zombies” in our current society and the whole thing felt like a meme your Boomer uncle shares on Facebook that talks about how he’s not glued to his screen and how kids today are obsessed with their phones and aren’t out there living. This little speech is delivered like it is “really deep, man” but it’s nothing that hasn’t already been said and said and presented better. In this film, it just felt douche-y and like it was punching down.
|Waits is why I watched the film...I think I need to stop watching movies just|
because a performer I like is in it and start doing more research on them
so incidents like this film don't happen to me anymore.
The Dead Don’t Die is too many things and too little focus—and it is all wrapped up in a pretentious package. I’m sure Jarmusch fans (or even Jarmusch himself) would just say I just didn’t “get it” and I’d agree. I didn’t get what the end goal was for this film because it just looked like a mess and the final product felt just as snobby as it was boring—and this movie was boring AF. Maybe this was really a brilliant move by Jarmusch to kill the zombie subgenre because this one has convinced me that I need a vacation from these films.