“This isn’t going to end well.”
This is a line mentioned several times throughout the duration of The Dead Don’t Die and honestly, I was thinking the same thing about this movie. In fact, this whole movie wasn’t going well for the most part, which is a downright shame.
Directed by Jim Jarmusch, The Dead Don’t Die is a horror-comedy film about a small town and their police force, led by Chief Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) and officers Ronald “Ronnie” Peterson (Adam Driver) and Minerva “Mindy” Morrison (Chloë Sevigny) that are under a sudden zombie invasion due to polar fracking, causing the earth to throw it off its axis.
The plot is as absurd as it sounds and because of this it should sound like a fun, wacky time for its genre, right? Sadly, this is not the case. What we are given is instead an incredibly slow and disappointingly boring experience that just absolutely goes nowhere considering its intriguing premise.
Despite featuring a stellar ensemble cast, including (as well as the above-mentioned) Tilda Swinton, Danny Glover, Selena Gomez and Steven Buscemi,it’s an absolute shame that most of the cast are extremely underused or just simply don’t bring much of anything funny nor different from other zombie horror comedy movies. Dialogue is exchanged between the characters and jokes are made, but nothing feels natural nor funny. The characters in this movie have conversations with one another about events taking place in the film and the eventual zombie invasion that is soon to happen, but it just goes on and on and drags.
I can also appreciate some good deadpan humour from time to time, as Bill Murray has proved to be very good at in his career, but with his character here – it’s just not working. Here, it feels like his performance is very ‘by-the-numbers’ and truly can’t be bothered to put any more effort in aside from the bare minimum of what the producers wants him to do.
The only character I was somewhat interested in was Zelda Winston (Swinton), the new undertaker at the funeral home. Introducing her character in the film by wielding a samurai sword and practicing her skills in front of a buddha statue. I was very curious about who her character was due to her bizarre personality. It was clear Swinton was having a lot of fun with this role and just enjoying what little she had to work with. I wanted to know a lot more about her and why she is so eccentric and strange. Why is wielding a sword? Why is she not baffled by zombies just popping up? She’s so nonchalant about this, compared to everyone else. Well don’t get invested wanting to know the answer to these questions because this film just doesn’t explain anything.
Everything about this movie feels like an unsatisfying mishmash of ideas squished together that never successfully come to fruition. Tilda Swinton is easily the star of the film and makes this bore-fest a mildly interesting one whenever she appears on the screen.
I’m sure this movie had a message or had some kind of underlying theme to show but honestly, I couldn’t see it. It’s an incredibly boring slog of a movie that amounts to nothing and it’s very frustrating. I’m sure even the most die hard of zombie horror movie fanatics will watch this movie, not feel satisfied, and instead feel confused. Sadly, The Dead Don’t Die is lacking in both the horror and comedy department.
Don’t bother with this. You’ll be bored to death.