The Dead Don't Die (2019)
June 19, 2019 12:22 PM - Subscribe

The peaceful town of Centerville finds itself battling a zombie horde as the dead start rising from their graves, in a new film directed by Jim Jarmusch and featuring Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloe Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Selena Gomez, Iggy Pop, RZA, Tom Waits, and lots more!
posted by chrchr (14 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Okay. I love Sturgill Simpson and all, but damn. This was another one of those movies that seemed like a good idea, but in actuality, it fell short.

There were moments, but they were few in far between. The entire movie felt like I was watching it through a haze of excessive anti-depressants. Everything was flat and joyless, but you could identify moments where the horror was trying to burst through, but the flatness just suffocated it.
posted by teleri025 at 2:58 PM on June 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

To me, it felt like a USA Up All Night movie but made on purpose by smart people. I didn't hate it. I like the idea of "polar fracking".
posted by chrchr at 3:22 PM on June 19, 2019

I think that this works best if your reason for going is for the "Jim Jarmusch" part of the phrase "Jim Jarmusch zombie movie". And much as I love Jarmusch, I also get that Jarmusch at his Jarmuschiest ain't for everyone; what reads to me as "slow burn joke" can indeed come across as "flat".

The Filmspotting podcast got really thought-provoking in their review, where they were talking about analogies between the various characters and the public reaction to current events and the current state of the world. Whether you agree or not, there IS an inherent logic to it. So you can get into it on that level. Or you can also get into it on the level of "that is probably the Tilda Swinton-est character I've ever seen Tilda Swinton play".

I also had an added bonus - some friends own a vacation house in the town in upstate NY where they did most of the filming, and I've been up there to visit a lot over the past several years, so I was having fun playing spot-the-location (zombies stumbling around outside the craft shop I always wanted to visit but was never open, Tilda Swinton beheading a zombie outside the house where we got to play with a friendly St. Bernard, stuff like that).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:21 AM on June 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

“The world is perfect,
Pay attention to the details”

3/4 of a good movie.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:04 PM on June 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

In THE DEAD DON'T DIE, the real monster is our own passivity:
Jim Jarmusch's new movie is an accusation aimed at his audience: As the world plummets toward an ecological catastrophe, we still shamble through our former existences, brainless, as though the end of the world hasn't already been written.
posted by chrchr at 11:03 AM on June 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

I loved it. It was just my kind of weird. Also, the only other movie I can think of that has both zombies and flying saucers is Plan 9 from Outer Space, so in my headcanon, Tilda Swinton's character is an undercover agent sent to blend in with the humans to make sure Plan 9 is proceeding as intended.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:46 AM on June 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

I was so disappointed. I wanted to love it. My heart was completely open.

I thought it had big problems: the script was poor, George Romero timing simply doesn't work as a comedy, there was a misunderstanding of zombie movies as a genre (particularly as it relates to our fear of the Other), and what insights it did bring were pretty fucking jejune. 'Consumerism makes us zombies'. Thanks for that revelation, Jim. Hipster jokes? Jokes about being addicted to cell phones? Come on -- aim higher.

I think they all thought this would be a fun movie to make, and simply didn't do the work.

My one actual laugh was when Bill broke. That was it. Everything else I had to reach for.

I tried to like it. I really did. Half an hour in and not finding any jokes yet, I realized that I was watching my biggest film disappointment since Phantom Menace.

Awful. Just awful.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:38 AM on July 12, 2019 [4 favorites]

we just doublefeatured this after Zombieland 2. This film was like the polar fracking opposite of that film. I kinda appreciated the z-feature idea of random industrial event evoking the apocalypse, and I also snorted in appreciation that the film event here named combines a climate apocalypse with literal fractured polarization. It was nice to see Carol Kane. I look, in my day to day life, just like Hermit Bob. The school is the detention center. All lovely little Jarmusch stuff.

It really made me miss Down By Law and Strangers in Paradise. I adore Only Lovers Left Alive, which I interpret as his love letter to Lux and Ivy. I asked my wife if she’d ever seen the first two films (she’s about sick of me hyping the third) and she said, no, she had not. So looks like I have another sweet double feature lined up.

Stay sick. Turn blue!
posted by mwhybark at 2:35 AM on January 5, 2020

I loved this movie!

First of all, I loved all the little touches. How the geeky guy at the store had a Night of the Living Dead button. How the juvenile detention center had the intials "CDC." The classic Romero car (and nod to Plan 9 from Outer Space!) The sword-wielding samurai (Michonne from The Walking Dead, and many other samurai/zombie films). The zombies turn to dust (zombie dust is connected to Haitian zombie legend). The repetition of obvious things like "was it an animal? or perhaps several animals?" totally cracked me up. Typical movie dialogue. Something like, "I guess we'll meet you in the cemetary later." How characters are often re-united at crucial times in movies.

The confusion of day and night (cheap zombie movies frequently have bad shifts between day and night, from filming at different times). The emotionally dead character who takes zombieism all in stride. The emotionally fraught character, who can't take it!

The ham-handed idea of "this highlights our consumerism" is because zombie films often try to highlight some fraility of human character. Which leads me too - "This is going to end badly!?" And it does?!?! Like, badly as in a bad film ending!? Brilliant! I don't think the director was trying to make that consumerism point - I think he was making fun of the idea of there being a point to a gore movie about zombies.

I thought the entire thing was a pastiche, a beautiful imitation of what a zombie movie is supposed to be - almost that it's been done so much, that the broad strokes of a bunch of different zombie movies does provide a semblance of a movie on it's own.

Aside from all that, I loved the cameos, the music, and the cinematography. VERY strange movie, and if you liked it and want a laugh, definitely check out the Amazon reviews, the 1 star reviews are hilarious!
posted by tiny frying pan at 7:42 AM on January 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

We finally saw this, and we laughed during the movie, but afterwords were kind of sad that it wasn't better. Was it trying to be a c-grade horror spoof with shitty writing and inconsistent story? It was reminiscent of a better version of a zombie film that was apparently stitched together from 2 or 3 other incomplete zombie movies, with the kids in the CDC never interacting with the main police story line. Did they survive? Did it matter? RZA's Dean "dropped some knowledge" on us in a way that felt like he'd be more central to the story, or at least get a more connected role, only to pop up later, briefly. Good parts and ideas, but wasted opportunities.

Clearly, Jim Jarmusch appreciates zombie films (as noted in tiny frying pan's summary of zombie film tropes), and he also worked in a lot of music references (NME), but so many other zombie movies did most of these jokes better, and with a more coherent (and less staring-at-the-camera "THIS IS THE MESSAGE") scripts, while still having strong messages. So, it felt like Jim was more a casual fan with serious connections who wanted to make a zombie film, than someone who really cared about making a good zombie film.

On the up-side, Bill Murry wasn't playing Bill Murry, if that makes sense. He was the "I'm too old for this shit/ I should have retired last year" cop, not Bill Murry from the first Zombieland. And the meta-humor of Adam Driver getting the whole script from Jim so he knew how it was going to end was great.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:28 PM on April 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

This was the first zombie movie i ever saw
posted by growabrain at 10:21 AM on July 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Even Scottish alien ninja Tilda Swinton could not redeem this agonizing turd of a movie.
posted by oulipian at 7:49 PM on October 17, 2020

Saw this last night and adored it. The absolute perfect film for a culture that has already eaten itself.
posted by EatTheWeek at 7:53 PM on November 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

I watched this on a lark over the weekend and I loved it. One of the most fun times I've had watching anything in quite a while. It's gleefully dumb. And that's okay.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:05 AM on December 1, 2020

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