The Dead Don’t Die (2019) – Jim Jarmusch

Jim Jarmusch writes and directs this zombie film that is more in line with the Romero created monster than the running creatures that have been made so popular of late. In fact, the entire film plays out at an enjoyably relaxing pace, letting the story brew, the characters breathe, and the oddities, eccentricities, and the meta nature of some of the moments, characters and situations play out.

Bill Murray, Adam Driver and Chloe Sevigny play bespectacled police officers of the small town of Centreville, where things are about to get very weird. The dead aren’t dying, in fact they are rising from the grave and stumbling to the places and things that were familiar when they were young (shades of Dawn of the Dead), and the entire town is going to have to deal with them, or fall under their seemingly unstoppable onslaught.

There’s the local comic book/film buff, Bobby (Caleb Landry Jones), the passer-bys (including Selena Gomez) that get caught up in events, the sparring locals like Hank (Danny Glover) and the red hatted republican Frank Miller (Steve Buscemi) and a strange new mortician in town, Zelda Winston (Tilda Swinton) – who seems to be part Tall Man from Phantasm, and part The Bride from Kill Bill. All of whom are going to face the culmination of their story, whether they know what’s going to happen or not.

This isn’t a zombie film for the fan who loves their gore, and their running zombies, this is a z-film for those who know the genre, know the tropes, and the things that have to happen in these films, and Jarmusch makes sure to tick all of those boxes, even when referencing how these zombies came to be.

There are nods and in-jokes, odd character moments, and deadpan delivery throughout that all plays wonderfully, if you’re in the mood for it. If your expecting your usual zombie horror-comedy fare this one may disappoint you, even with its pedigree. If however, you know film, know the genre, know the actors, the tropes, the styles, then there are a number of fun little nods throughout.

This isn’t a meal of a film, this is more of a chicken soup zombie film, it’s fun, relaxing, it gives you what you would expect from a zombie film without the horror and tension. And you get to see Bill Murray taking on the paranormal!

This one has been popping up on my radar every now and again since its release, and I was delighted to finally have time to check it out. Like I said, it’s not for everyone, but if you’re in the right place, this could very well be incredibly entertaining for you. And like all good zombie films it is layered in social and political commentary and subtext, check it out!

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