The Dead Don’t Die is a 2019 horror comedy film written & directed by Jim Jarmusch (Dead Man, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Broken Flowers, & Coffee and Cigarettes). It was produced by Joshua Astrachan (It Follows, Paterson, Gosford Park, & The Company), Marcelo Gandola (Kiss of the Damned, Kill Your Darlings, & The Girl Is in Trouble), & Fredrik Zander (Lords of Chaos, The Island, Atomic Blonde, & Misconduct). Daniel Craig was originally supposed to be in this feature. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival 2019. Director Jim Jarmusch’s first wide release in his entire film making career. It grossed $13.9 million worldwide at the box office!
Responding to a complaint from farmer Frank Miller (played by: Steve Buscemi from Fargo, Reservoir Dogs, Boardwalk Empire, Ghost World, Con Air, & The Sopranos) regarding a missing chicken, small rural town Centerville police officers Cliff Robertson (played by: Bill Murray from Ghostbusters franchise, Zombieland, Groundhog Day, Caddyshack, Scrooged, & Little Shop of Horrors) & Ronnie Peterson (played by: Adam Driver from the Star Wars franchise, BlacKkKlansman, Logan Lucky, & Paterson) briefly confront local eccentric Hermit Bob (played by: Tom Waits from The Outsiders, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mystery Men, The Book of Eli, & Seven Psychopaths) in the woods. On their drive back to the station, Cliff remarks that it is still daylight after 8 pm while Ronnie notices his watch & cell phone have stopped working. Hank Thompson (played by: Danny Glover from the Lethal Weapon franchise, Saw, Predator 2, Lonesome Dove, Bad Ass 2/3, & Shooter) hears a worrisome radio report about polar fracking. Following a news report seen at the Centerville Juvenile Detention Center, Geronimo (played by: Jahi Di’Allo Winston from The Upside) tells fellow young inmates Olivia (played by: Taliyah Whitaker from Wallykazam!) & Stella (played by: Maya Delmont from Sesame Street) that polar fracking has altered the Earth’s rotation.
Deliveryman Dean (played by: Wu Tang Clan’s RZA from The Man with the Iron Fists 1/2, Mr. Right, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Funny People, American Gangster, & A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas) drops off rare magazines with gas station owner Bobby Wiggins (played by: Caleb Landry Jones from Twin Peaks: The Return, Antiviral, Get Out, X-Men: First Class, & Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), who also sells pop culture memorabilia out of his store. Moonlight Motel owner Danny Perkins (played by: Larry Fessenden from Animal Factory, Session 9, Broken Flowers, I Sell the Dead, & You’re Next) watches broadcaster Posie Juarez’s (played by: Rosie Perez from Dance with the Devil, Do the Right Thing, White Men Can’t Jump, & Pineapple Express) news report about pets behaving strangely & his cats are missing. Cliff & Ronnie regroup with Mindy Morrison (played by: Chloë Sevigny from American Psycho, Boy Don’t Cry, Kids, Gummo, Zodiac, & Big Love) at the police station. Zelda Winston (played by: Tilda Swinton from Avengers: Endgame, Isle of Dogs, Suspiria, Snowpiercer, Burn After Reading, Constantine, & Doctor Strange), the odd new undertaker at the Ever After funeral home just moved to the community. The police arrive at the diner to a gruesome discovery. Ronnie tells Cliff he believes zombies slaughtered them. Zoe (played by: Selena Gomez from Spring Breakers, Getaway, Neighbors 2, & Hotel Transylvania franchise) with her traveling companions Jack (played by: Austin Butler from Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood) & Zach (played by: Luka Sabbat from Grown-ish) stop in town for the night. Things keep getting weirder in Centerville & more undead is starting to show up. Can these unlikely heroes stop this chaos from taking over their small community????
The Dead Don’t Die is a very unique addition to the zombie sub-genre. I’ve seen every zombie film that I could get my hands on since I was a kid & this one is definitely different from all of them. The highlight for this production is the all star cast. It’s amazing to see all the talent involved in this horror comedy. It was one of my most anticipated movies when it was first announced with everyone added to this. The best advice for The Dead Don’t Die is don’t go into it with any expectations because it’s not your typical zombie movie. Bill Murray & Adam Driver have great chemistry here. They play off each other like they have been co-workers forever, the dry humor works for both of these characters. The supporting cast that includes Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, RZA, Rosie Perez, Chloë Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Tom Waits, Larry Fessenden, Caleb Landry Jones, Iggy Pop (Tank Girl), & Carol Kane (When a Stranger Calls) in a role originally written for Bruce Campbell all boosted the overall quality of the feature. The comedy was very hit or miss, I didn’t think it worked most of the time to be honest. They kept repeating lines & the theme song as a joke but it’s really got annoying after a few times. The script could have been much better especially with all the talent involved with this project. I will say it did have some cool genre references & homages to features from the past. I felt like most of the incredible cast here was wasted. I am a big fan of Jim Jarmusch so I kinda expected this type of dry humor mixed in with the horror. The special fx for this was top notch, all the zombies looked great & it had some impressive gore. The biggest problem with The Dead Don’t Die was the editing & the slow awkward pace that it had. It had potential to be way better but it just ended up solid after the weak script & weird flow to it. I do think the cast, special fx, & the overall feeling of the entire production make it worth checking out or even adding it to your collection, RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Universal! This 1080p (1.78:1) transfer looks stunning on blu ray. The visual style & cinematography make this stand out from most of the other horror flicks from 2019. It has 3 different audio options which includes English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French: DTS 5.1, & Spanish: DTS 5.1 on this release. The dialogue is very clean & there’s lots of it with this film. All the madness is elevated & the music has a killer boost to it. Get ready to hear the same song over & over with this. It also has English SDH, French, & Spanish subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Universal! “Bill Murray: Zombie Hunting Action Star” is a little over a minute & it chats with the lead actor. He jokes about Zombieland being the best zombie movie ever until this. He says he is officially typecast in this type of film. He chats about his bad driving in the police car. He talks about the action & usually not getting to do dark stuff like this for roles. “Stick Together” is almost 3 minutes. It has interviews with actors Bill Murray, Chloë Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Larry Fessenden, & members of the production. They chat about working with the director. They say if it’s a zombie film from him, it’s going to be different. They bring up the social commentary in it. They mention the humor in it. “Behind the Scenes of The Dead Don’t Die” is a little over 5 minutes featuring 6 small segments which include Zombie Tai Chi, Growl Practice, A Spin Around the Set, Craft Services, Undead Symphony, & Finger Food. These are all very short behind the scenes footage from the set. They mainly feature zombies & extras from the production. It also includes a slipcover & digital code. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!