Jim Jarmusch’s latest film is a wonderful comedy horror with a few small things that it could have done without…
The town of Centerville is a sleepy town with only three police (Bill Murray, Adam Driver and Chloë Sevigny), a small diner, a run down gas station run by comic book nerd Bobby, a youth detention centre and an undertakers (just bought up by a Scottish Tilda Swinton).
Then, two zombies rise from the graveyard and commit a double murder in the diner. The police are shocked, but eventually give in to Officer Ronald (Driver)’s theory that it was, in fact, zombies.
Ensue zombie apocalypse.
Throw in a samurai sword wielding Zelda Winston (Swinton) and a slightly unnecessary cameo from Selena Gomez, and you’ve got yourself The Dead Don’t Die.
I laughed. I laughed a lot. Then script was, mostly, objectively funny. There was dark humour, pure comedy, sarcasm and a little slapstick. Driver’s character especially had a lot of great lines, and the whole cinema was audibly tickled.
The gore that we got was pretty good, a bit of guts goes a long way in a zombie movie and the blood sprays were classic. In fact the zombies in general were well done, they looked like classical un-dead but also self aware enough to be modern.
Speaking of self-aware, this was a theme that I thought was a little too much. I loved how Jarmusch broke the fourth wall, I loved how the characters seemed aware they were in fiction, but wasn’t a fan of the “message” that Jarmusch was trying to send – it was unnecessary for a genuinely funny comedy horror.
The Dead Don’t Die also seemed to lack a story line. I’m not sure if this is a really a criticism, as it almost didn’t need it. If you think of something like Shaun of the Dead, it has a similar theme but a very simple and clear plot: we are going to get from point A to point B and not die. This didn’t have that, it was more a disorganised romp, as I’m sure it would be, if a zombie apocalypse did come.
The last thing I had a small gripe with was Chloë Sevigny’s character. Admittedly Swinton’s undertaker (Zelda) was the most badass character, but as the only female police officer, I was disappointed with Sevingny’s character’s pathetic reaction to the situation.
I hope this hasn’t put you off! I still think it was a really great comedy and worth an evening.