Starring: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Selena Gomez
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Running Time: 104 mins
The Dead Don’t Die is an American film about a pair of police officers in a small rural town who preside over a series of strange happenings in the local area, as suspicions are raised that zombies could be invading their peaceful corner of America.
Zombie comedies (or zom-coms as they’re called nowadays) can be very hit or miss. The best zom-coms are films which lean more heavily on the ‘com’ aspect of the genre, whereas the weaker films, including The Dead Don’t Die, lean a little too much on the ‘zom’ element of it all, which proves a really rather dull story device throughout.
Despite an entertaining and talented ensemble cast that features Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Selena Gomez and many, many, many more, The Dead Don’t Die is a film that’s very thin on genuine laughs and storytelling, rarely delivering genuinely entertaining horror comedy that relies almost too heavily on a self-referential brand of parody.
I suppose the best thing about this film is that it knows it isn’t a masterpiece, and that it makes fun of its own most ridiculous tropes. The movie is, therefore, not a typical zom-com in its reliance on zombie horror, and tries to extract laughs out of a more ‘meta’ kind of humour that works to some extent – particularly in the opening stages – but ultimately feels just as tired as the story as a whole.
The film’s deadpan style and the equally deadpan performances are meant to be its quirkiest trait, but in the absence of genuinely hilarious laughs, the movie comes off as a weak and frankly tedious horror comedy that tries too hard to be offbeat like a Wes Anderson film. In the final stages of the film, it’s all far too focused on the horror and gore, and there’s never a point where The Dead Don’t Die really delivers on its promise of laughs from the start.
Granted, the more deadpan approach to humour means that the film is never going for gut-bustingly funny gags, but I didn’t laugh once during this film, nor did I really even manage a smirk at any point. The A-list cast is fun for a little while, although the procession of celebrity cameos really wears off quickly, despite the fact that it is a nice callback to Bill Murray’s own appearance in the far superior Zombieland.
Overall, I was really rather disappointed by The Dead Don’t Die. A film filled with talent and an arguably different approach to zombie comedies, it proves a really rather dull watch throughout, languishing about with a poorly executed brand of humour, excessive reliance on horror at points, and little to show for the wealth of A-listers appearing on screen throughout. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 6.3.