The Dead Don't Die

“She’s Scottish?”

Review by Lewis Goodall

Imagine a buffet. A buffet filled with loads of food that you like, all laid out in front of you. You’ve got some chicken nuggets, chips, shrimp, noodles, that’s just going off things that I like but imagine it with all you different types of food. Naturally you’d go through all the trays picking up pretty much everything and putting it on your plate. Yum, I’ll have some egg fried rice and roast potatoes together, that’ll be good. So you have you plate of great food but you once you start eating it, for some reason it tastes bizarre. This is ‘The Dead Don’t Die.

The Dead Don’t die is a strange one if I’m honest. It features a cast of incredible actors. You’ve got Adam Driver and Bill Murry playing a pair of cops. You’ve got the ginger guy from ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri’ playing a nerd. You’ve got Tilda Swindon playing an undertaker. It’s a fantastic cast. They all reside within the town of Centreville where an ominous feeling descends as all the clocks stop working and the sun seems to never set. Due to polar fracking, the earth has been spun off its axis and made the dead rise from the tomb (somehow). The residents of Centreville must fight to defend themselves against the hordes of the reanimated.

This film goes to show that you can’t rely on having a fantastic cast to make it a good film. Much like in the movie where things just seem a bit off in the town of Centreville, there’s just something off with the film that meant it created an overall pretty dull experience. I’ll start with cast as that is this films biggest selling point, not just me saying that, its literally the selling point on the cover of the bluray. Adam Driver is seriously going up in peoples books for an actor to watch. What with being in Star Wars, Blackkklansman and most recently Marriage Story, he proves himself to be an incredible actor. Now in The Dead Don’t Die, I didn’t necessarily have a problem with his acting but the overall feel of it felt like he didn’t want to be there. This is the feel of all the actors within the film, including the zombies. No one acting in this film gave the impression that they actually wanted to be a part of the project. Everyone just seemed very mellow and uninterested.

The structure of the film is done all over the place to incorporate different stories within this one unfolding nightmare. We primarily focus on Adam Driver and Bill Murray as they patrol the town to investigate all the weird goings on. They investigate the murder of two people in a cafe where they believe it to be an animal attack or an attack by several animals. They later assume it to be zombles from the wounds on the bodies. They quickly learn this to true and zombies start coming out of the graves in the masses. There’s a few other stories entwined within this one that seem pretty pointless and just an excuse to get more famous people in the film, I say famous people but I have no idea who they were so a lot of it seemed pointless. The zombies themselves are reminiscent of the old school ‘night of the living dead’ zombies that are slow and still slightly sentient. The film is obviously inspired by George a Romero because it references night of the living dead multiple times. I feel like zombies have evolved so much that starting back to the original ones is quite hard to do in this day and age if you’re trying to inspire fear. This film obviously isn’t meant to be a horror, it’s a comedy, but where the comedy at though??

This must be a new age comedy that I’m not aware of because I certainly knew at points where punchlines were meant to be but again it was just something where things just seemed off. I don’t believe it to be the script itself, but more the delivery of the comedy just was totally lost. The film is written and directed by the same guy, Jim Jarmusch, and I feel like his specially lies more in the writing rather than directing. I feel there was a lot of potential given the dialogue but it was executed pretty poorly. There’s a few moments where there are attempts to break the forth wall and they really don’t hit well. Adam Driver and Bill Murray are listening to a song that plays a lot during the film and they are discussing about where they recognise it from, Adam then mentions that it’s the theme song for the film. I guess its funny but the delivery just means that it really doesn’t land. Both these actors are capable of doing comedy, so it brings me back to the lack of directing experience where they managed to make Bill Murray unfunny. I’ve gone back and read parts of the script and its genuinely funny, but I don’t remember laughing at the same lines in the film which describes my point well really.

Negative Nancy over here. There are parts of it that I did enjoy. I’m complaining about the comedy but there were a few moments that did make me laugh out loud, one in particular joke I liked was…. I guess this is a joke spoiler so read over it if you don’t want it spoiled but Steve Buscemi (yeah, he’s in it too) is wearing a trump hat but instead it says “Make America White Again” which did give me a chuckle when I saw it. Also I know I said about how the zombies are a bit boring but a nifty aspect about them is that when they’re killed on injured, instead of it being the typical blood overload, it instead was black ash, so when their heads were chopped off a cloud of ash would smoke out of then which I actually thought was done really well.

Overall, I’m very mixed about this film, I cant deny that I enjoyed watching it but it’s not something I would say, you need to go watch this film omg lol it’s so good movie movie movie film film film, you know? It had a good mix of some comedy, great cast that was ultimately let down but the lack of effort that seemed to flow throughout the whole film. The end was strange as well, I cant even get into it, but I’m not doing that for mystery effect like “ooooo Lewis is leaving it a mystery, I need to know what happens”, no, nothing like that, its just strange. I feel 50/50 about this film, so naturally, 50/50, 5, I’m giving this.

5 Zombie Makeovers out of 10

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