The Dead Don't Die

Critics Consensus

The Dead Don't Die dabbles with tones and themes to varying degrees of success, but sharp wit and a strong cast make this a zom-com with enough brains to consume.

56%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 279

38%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 1,783
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Movie Info

The greatest zombie cast ever disassembled starring Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, Rosie Perez, Iggy Pop, Sara Driver, RZA, Selena Gomez, Carol Kane, Austin Butler, Luka Sabbat and Tom Waits. Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch.

Cast

Bill Murray
as Cliff Robertson
Adam Driver
as Ronnie Peterson, Ronald Peterson
Tilda Swinton
as Zelda Winston
Chloë Sevigny
as Officer Mindy Morrison, Mindy Morrison
Steve Buscemi
as Farmer Miller
Danny Glover
as Hank Thompson
Caleb Landry Jones
as Bobby Wiggins
Rosie Perez
as Posie Juarez
Iggy Pop
as Male Coffee Zombie, Coffee Zombie
Sara Driver
as Coffee Zombie, Female Coffee Zombie
RZA
as Dean
Carol Kane
as Mallory O' Brien, Mallory O'Brien
Tom Waits
as Hermit Bob
Jahi Winston
as Geronimo
Kevin McCormick
as Guard One
Sid O'Connell
as Guard Two
Larry Fessenden
as Danny Perkins
Jodie Markell
as Woman on TV
Sturgill Simpson
as Guitar Zombie
Charlotte Kemp Muhl
as Fashion Zombie
View All

News & Interviews for The Dead Don't Die

Critic Reviews for The Dead Don't Die

All Critics (279) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (156) | Rotten (123)

  • The angriest movie I've seen all year. This is Jim Jarmusch putting a very strong environmentalist stance in the middle of a zombie movie.

    Sep 30, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The zombie genre is now close to exhaustion -- though this is not a problem for Jarmusch who likes his premises threadbare, all the better to distil them into absurdist ritual.

    Sep 25, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Jim Jarmusch's movies are always laconic, but this one felt less like a bunch of old friends hanging out and more like old friends dutifully showing up to do one of them a half-hearted favor.

    Aug 2, 2019 | Rating: C | Full Review…

    Katie Rife

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • The Dead Don't Die, instead, stomps in like your drunken uncle at a wedding disco and announces that it's here, and that everything's fine because it's going to have a lot of fun at the zombie movie's expense. If only.

    Jul 13, 2019 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Jarmusch loads his genre-tweaking experiment with so many of his A-list friends that it's a gas just hanging out in their company.

    Jun 15, 2019 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • The star-studded ensemble cast-which features numerous Jarmusch veterans, among them Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloë Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, and Tom Waits-seems to be having loads of fun, which adds to the ingratiating vibe.

    Jun 14, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Dead Don't Die

  • Oct 02, 2019
    This was really disappointing. That I almost laughed one time is the nicest thing I can say about The Dead Don't Die. I don't adore Jim Jarmusch as much as some, but I did expect more than this. Now you could argue that's on me, but I don't think it's too out of line to hope that a horror be scary, a comedy be funny, or a respected director's shot at horror comedy to be at least a little bit of at least one of the above.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 02, 2019
    "Do you like this shit? Is this the kind of garbage that you enjoy?" The Jarmarsh deadpan is even more pronounced and I began to feel, in the way situations were presented, that Jarmarsh is dumbstruck by the curious affections of the modern movie buying public and herein, with a totally complicit cast, seeks to honestly question those affections. Tilda Swinton's character, an elfin, Scottish, killing-machine, alien, ninja, seems to be the exclamation mark of his tirade, with no point, no purpose, only to show up and be cool. While the conversation was interesting...I thought it could have used a little more fire.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 28, 2019
    Every once in awhile, even your favorite directors are bound to put out a dud. Jarmusch has had a few from my perspective. I wasn't much a fan of The Limits of Control, and even Paterson underwhelmed me. But this is the guy who gave us Down by Law and Only Lovers Left Alive, so I know that he has the capacity to do better. The Dead Don't Die is more of a disappointing movie than a bad one. Individual elements like Tilda Swinton as a katana-wielding Scottish mortician or Iggy Pop grunting for coffee in full zombie regalia really make this blasé Romero riff watchable and, at times, amusing. But make no mistake, any social commentary is toothless, the plotting is lazy, and this existential zombie hang-out is just a little too despondent to sit alongside more quick-witted zom-edy films like Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland. Which begs the question, was he trying to make a movie this dumb, or is this just what gets made when Jarmusch goes on vacation with his favorite character actors? The biggest sin here is that Bill Murray and Adam Driver don't seem as fully committed to being small town cops reacting to a zombie epidemic as much as Steve Buscemi is to being a one-dimensional Trumpster fire. The periphery is more interesting, and there's not nearly enough of it. Instead, we get post-career-renaissance Murray breaking the fourth wall, almost in protest to how boring everything is. One can meander and still have fun with this premise, but the environmentalist fantasy politics and "old hipster who doesn't like phone tech" perspective shits the whole bed. It's like Jarmusch is acknowledging the political subtexts of (his overt focus of homage) George Romero's ...of the Dead series by using them either as a simplistic preachy flavor or a post-modernist punchline, and I'm not sure which one is more off-putting. Better luck next time, Jim. Like I said, it's worth a watch - it's just not a good movie.
    Steve L Super Reviewer
  • Jul 13, 2019
    THE WALKING DEADPAN - My Review of THE DEAD DON'T DIE (3 Stars) Right from the very beginning, writer/director Jim Jarmusch quickly established himself as the voice of deader than deadpan comedy. So what better genre for him to tackle this time out than an all-out zombie flick? Unfortunately, after years and years of undead stories, The Dead Don't Die comes off as an amusing trifle at best, and too little too late at worst. Although patently unmemorable and tonally odd, I had a great time watching it. By assembling a huge cast, most of whom have appeared in his earlier films, Jarmusch gets to coast a little knowing that his actors already understand his style. There's the added bonus of including a young pop star into the mix, causing me to marvel, "Wow, Selena Gomez gets major points for liking Jim Jarmusch films!" Now, despite having very little to do, she can add street cred to her list. In fact, this film is the cinematic embodiment of street cred. In the small American town of Centerville, Police Chief Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) and Officer Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver) notice a series of strange occurrences, such as watches stopping, the sun not setting, and their local vagrant, Hermit Bob (Tom Waits) starts shooting at them from his lair in the woods. The film's title song, a catchy country ditty by Sturgill Simpson, seems to come on the radio whenever anyone turns it on. Ronnie even refers to it as the theme song for the movie we're watching. These odd events and meta-references can only mean one thing…it's the zombie apocalypse! Soon, the Officers meet up with fellow cop Officer Mindy Morrison (Chloë Sevigny) and investigate an increasing number of gore-filled attacks. Peterson clocks it right away upon seeing two half-eaten corpses. It's the work of zombies, or "ghouls", as he calls them, giving us the best pronunciation of a word in movies in 2019. Into the fray comes Zelda Winston (Tilda Swinton), who wields a katana sword on a level with The Bride from Kill Bill and Michonne from The Walking Dead. I'll leave her purpose unspoiled, but once again, Swinton brings her otherworldly talents to a film, and we're all grateful. The film feels like a bunch of set pieces strung together and lacks any real momentum as far as its plot is concerned. What elevates this tried and true material is Jarmusch's deadpan approach to every single moment. Prior zombie films, dating back to George Romero, have already explored the idea that the living, blinded by our own narcissism, our consumer culture, or our stupidity, are the real undead, so Jarmusch really only brings his distinctive style. Luckily, he's great at it, and has Murray and Driver especially well-equipped for the job. They know exactly what movie they're in with every delicious pause and laconic line reading. Much of the fun also comes from the stuffed cast, providing us with Love Boat/Poseidon Adventure flashbacks every time we spot another face like Carol Kane, RZA, Iggy Pop (who already looks like a zombie before all the special effects makeup), Rosie Perez, Steve Buscemi (who has cornered the market on playing distinctive jerks), Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, and my favorite sighting, Eszter Balint, the star of Stranger Than Paradise, as, what else, a sassy waitress named Fern. Another Jarmusch stalwart, Sara Driver, delivers some fantastic body language as a coffee loving, post-punk zombie. I could have done without the frequent references to the fact that the characters know they're in a movie and discuss the process, but I still laughed nonetheless. Sometimes a cheap joke is still funny. Technically, the film feels appropriately low key. Expect more blank stares than bloodshed, and that's the point. His longtime cinematographer, Fred Elmes (Paterson, Broken Flowers), keeps things basic, and gets to make something silly for a change. This film doesn't contain the indelible images he's given us over his great career, but it shows he, and everyone else, can also relax and just give us a fun, dorky movie. Jarmusch, for his part, seems more interested in how humans react to a crumbling society than in any action sequence, which are all fairly modest. He's speaking to the sleeping giant we've become, anesthetized to the overload of trauma we experience on a daily basis anymore. We're all a little dead inside, and if we don't start chopping things off at the head, we'll never survive.
    Glenn G Super Reviewer

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