Complete A-Z list

Dead Don't Die, The


Stars: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloe Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Danny Glover, Steve Buscemi, Selena Gomez, Caleb Landry Jones, Tom Waits, Rosie Perez, Carol Kane, RZA, Iggy Pop, Eszter Balint

Director: Jim Jarmusch

Even by the standards of zombie movies, this is bizarre - and deliberately so, even resorting (somewhat unsuccessfully) to breaking the 'fourth wall' towards the end.

There's no zombies for the first half-hour, just a surfeit of strangeness. Then, thanks to polar fracking, which is moving the earth's axes, there's an explosion of the undead (not sure of the connection there, but, hey, it's a zombie movie) who can only be killed by having their heads chopped (or blown) off.

Their first victims are the proprietor (Balint) and cleaner (Maya Delmont) at the local diner, who are swiftly eviscerated. 'Whatever it was,' muses police chief Cliff Robertson (Murray) - one of several filmic names used for in-jokes - 'it even smashed the coffee pots'.

Much of the dialogue is haltingly delivered and, having but a tenuous connection with the plot, seems contrived more to amuse its writer-director himself than his audience.

Murray's sidekick (Driver) keeps saying 'Yes, this isn't going to end well, Cliff', something he explains at the end, by which time the film, with the help of Swinton as a Scottish mortician, has sidled into the surreal.

Jarmusch looks to achieve the kind of tongue-in-cheek horror so well delivered by Joe Dante of Gremlins fame, but he lacks his predecessor's innate glee and lightness of touch. Regular zombie fans may not know quite what to make of it.

David Quinlan

USA 2019. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by Arri.
104 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 09 Jul 2019