The Dead Don’t Die is a powerfully rewarding watch, as a superficial ode to horror movies of the past
The immediate question that jumps from The Dead Don’t Die’s placid demeanour, revolves around whether the piece is actually any good. Cult director Jim Jarmusch offers a unique, often bleak, but strangely appealing take on the formularity of zombie movies, but he seems to want to hammer home his point a little too hard.
Chief Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) and Officers Ronald (Adam Driver) and Mindy (Chloe Sevigny) uncover a strangely gruesome murder in their small town of Centerville. But as the night grows long, the dead seem to start returning to life, putting the entire town in lockdown.
There is no doubt that The Dead Don’t Die is a unique production. Incredibly unique. And usually for a film this ‘cultish’ that can only be a good thing. However, this is a film with a strange sense of emptiness, meaning its messages are incredibly important. Tom Waits homeless character becomes the representation of the run against the norm, and his sole impact, which inhibits only a small amount of the film, means Jarmusch’s argument becomes strangely lopsided.
Yet taking the film at face value instead, offers a far more rewarding watch, with Murray, Driver and Sevingny leading a fantastic cast, and Tilda Swinton offering one of her best supporting roles to date, The Dead Don’t Die is a powerfully rewarding watch, as a superficial ode to horror movies of the past. Meaning as that face-value piece, The Dead Don’t Die is great, but its overall struggles to really hit home its message knocks it down a peg, becoming a lovable cult production, rather than a probable outright cult classic.
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