The Dead Don't Die

‘The Dead Don’t Die’ Review: An Acquired Taste

The Dead Don’t Die is a cleverly constructed yet fun look at the sub-genre of horror films dealing with the coming of a zombie apocalypse set in the middle of nowhere. The problem is I’m not sure exactly how this film finds an audience. It’s as if Jim Jarmusch realized this when he began writing the narrative for the film almost resigned to the fact that this release could get lost in the shuffle.  Could that be the reason why everyone was so loose in the film or could that be the nature of a Jarmusch piece? Whatever the reason, it’s hard not to respect his commitment to the piece.

The Dead Don't Die
Tilda Swinton stars as “Zelda Winston” in writer/director Jim Jarmusch’s THE DEAD DON’T DIE, a Focus Features release. Credit: Frederick Elmes / Focus Features © 2019 Image Eleven Productions, Inc.

So what’s the premise of The Dead Don’t Die, the best way to describe the film is its as if The Andy Griffith Show experienced an attack by the undead. Officer Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray),  Deputy Minerva Morrison (Chloë Sevigny), and Deputy Ronald Peterson (Adam Driver) are starting to notice that things aren’t quite normal in Centerville. During a routine complaint call, they notice the animals seem to be going into hiding. News reports are stating a change in the rotation of the earth. All the while, people are trying to keep things regular, but there’s nothing ordinary about this town or what’s to come.

The Dead Don't Die
Tom Waits stars as “Hermit Bob” in writer/director Jim Jarmusch’s THE DEAD DON’T DIE, a Focus Features release. Credit: Abbot Genser / Focus Features © 2019 Image Eleven Productions, Inc.

Before too long, all hell is breaking loose and rather than heading for the hills, Cliff is taking things in stride. One of the standout elements of the film is its writing. Yes, it’s a bit odd, but Jarmusch crafted some amusing moments. I did enjoy Murray and Driver in the movie. My biggest issue with the film is those moments they kept in the film which seemed to be improvised. Those tended to drag at times, which made a rather brisk running time tend to drag. Overall, it didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the film but did stop any momentum the film had.

'The Dead Don't Die"
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About the author

My name is Dewey Singleton, and I've been a film critic for going on seven years. My reviews have been found on,,, and now I am a member of the BFCA, OFCS, and SEFCA. I'm married and have two beautiful children.


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