THE DEAD DON'T DIE (2019): A Slow Burn of Entertainment

THE DEAD DON'T DIE (2019): A Slow Burn of Entertainment

The Dead Don't Die is quite the ode to the classic zombie movie genre, with a cast that's quite amazing...

The film stars Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tom Waits, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, RZA and other victims... I mean actors. The film is directed by Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers, Paterson).

The story:

As the movie opens, the sun seems to oddly refuse to set, watches stop working and the news of the world tilting on its axis due to oil cold fracking adds to the series of other perplexing events such as all the animals in and around town running off. These and other things start to take place around the world and in the small town setting of Centerville, where our movie takes place, is where we follow specific events.

In the middle of all this are the stone-faced police officers, Chief Cliff Robertson (Murray) and Officer Ronnie Peterson (Driver). Have you ever seen Murray's dead-pan characters? Or Driver's? These two deliver the most dry-wit delivery of caution and curiosity that only two, low-energy, small-town cops can.

As the story develops, the zombies start to crawl out of the ground and each night, more and more show up.

The quirkiness is how the undead don't just amble around looking for brains, but rather, they congregate where they used to hang out when they were alive. One couple heads to the local diner, mumbling 'coffee' as they attack the staff.

Other dead kids amble off to the comic book store, all the while, each zombie has it's own catch phrase related to it's life before it died.

What's cute, fun or quirky are all the homages paid to the zombie genre and other references, subtle and not so subtle.

In one scene, a zombie gets beheaded is dressed to look exactly like Murray's zombie from the film Zombieland.

The car that a trio of travelers drive is the same make and model from the opening scenes of the 1968 George Romero film, Night of the Living Dead. It's even mentioned how the car has a George Romero vibe. LOL.

Adam Driver's little electric car has Star Wars vehicle sounds, and he carries a key chain with a small Star Wars star destroyer. (Driver played Kylo Ren in the most recent Star Wars films)

The casting was surprising, since The cast includes one Oscar winner: Tilda Swinton; and six Oscar nominees: Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Carol Kane, Chloe Sevigny, Rosie Perez and Tom Waits.


All in all, this was such a slow-paced horror film that you have time to have fun with it and enjoy some of the references and nuances if you catch them. (I left a lot out)

SPOILER: One of my favorite conversations stems from Driver's character continually saying this isn't going to end well. Murray's character finally snaps and asks him why the hell he keeps saying that? Driver's character replies, "Jim let me read the script."

Despite the low review scores (IMDb 5.5/10; Rotten Tomatoes 54%) I thought this was a fun few hours for me. Again, it's nothing pulse pounding but rather, slow, digestible entertainment on a different level, like a good artistic representation of the genre and absolutely perfect for the season.

If you get a chance, get it on your DVR or don't turn the channel and enjoy the slow burn. It was totally enjoyable watching these veteran actors deliver this fun content...

Oh, and seriously, out of nowhere, Swinton's character does THE CRAZIEST thing... you'll know it when you see it. Trust me!

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