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Review The Dead Don't Die (2019): Jim Jarmusch doesn't love zombies!

genre: comedy, fantasy, horror

Jim Jarmusch doesn't love zombies but was persuaded by friend Tilda Swinton who had starred has a vampire in his Only Lovers Left Alive (2013). In that movie the vampires kept calling people zombies. To which she asked Jarmusch when he was going to make that zombie film. Jarmusch: " Tilda, we don't like zombies remember? " Tilda: " Yes, I think you could dó something with that. " And thus The Dead Don't Die was created.

When the trailer came out on Youtube I was impressed by the cast. Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Tom Waits and so many more. Apparently according to Jarmusch they only got paid a bowl of oatmeal. So basically they are in the film because he asked them too. Now one could say they could be commended to work for free. However some of them clearly couldn't be bothered to give a good performance. Does that hurt the film? No. Because it's the lack of real freshness and creativity that affects the film. The Dead Don't Die is not a bad film. It is actually quite entertaining. Only it's a shame that nothing new has been done with the genre. At times Jim Jarmusch is trying to be clever without actually giving you something clever to sink your teeth in. Like for example the fact that Officer Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver) and Chief Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) sometimes refer to the script as they are aware they are actors in a film. Very meta. But quite pointless. Unless the only thing you should be taking from it is that Ronnie Peterson already foreshadows how the film is going to end. " This is all gonna end badly "

Whether that is a good or bad thing could be argued. But like I said nothing fresh or creative has been done with the zombies. Jarmusch himself states his zombies are different because they hold on to one aspect of their previous lives. A lot of zombie films have covered this already. The original Dawn of the Dead directed by George A. Romero basically built the whole film on this premise. So yes it is obvious Jarmusch has not seen enough zombie films to realize it has been done already. But I could have overlooked this had the film been funnier. There were times I laughed. Then there were moments where it looked like I was supposed to laugh but couldn't because it was annoying or stupid. Chloë Sevigny  as Officer Mindy Morrison is an example of this. She is so terrified that instead of fighting back she instantly gives up. But not before berating her colleagues who actually are dealing with the situation they have been dealt with. Perhaps Tilda Swinton amps up the weirdness factor and one could perceive that as funny. I didn't think so. She is just weird.

Overall The Dead Don't Die can be entertaining if you aren't too demanding. But can I recommend this? No, for that it is too lacking. It simply is not delivering that zombie goodness I crave.

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