Jim Jarmusch directs Bill Murray, Adam Driver and Chloë Sevingy in this ensemble horror comedy where zombies take over a self-aware deadpan town.
Jarmusch has been subverting genre for years, making films of the mundane moment other filmmakers chop out or never imagine. This half hearted take on the walking dead though just doesn’t land. A genre that has had as many superior comedy infused variations as pure horror entries already (Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, Warm Bodies to name three) and whose genesis was with the satirical George Romero. The jokes Jarmusch wants to make have been done to death by livelier productions, the political points (about mindless consumerism and waning individuality) he churns up were already front and centre in Romero’s own Dawn of the Dead… way back in 1978. Which leaves The Dead Don’t Die resting on its “strengths” as an entertainment. It is too weak willed as a horror, too low energy as a comedy. Sure… you expect cold readings from both Bill Murray and Adam Driver, but they are both so monotone here that any trace of wit in the script is lost. As for Chloë Sevingy’s whiny coward character, it feels like a misogynistic betrayal of a great actress and something that wouldn’t even have passed muster in a straight horror post-Scream… let alone woke 2019. I’m sure the intention wasn’t there to create such a hateful caricature of a weak woman but, by God, it scans as such. Disappointing