Artpig’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Dead Don't Die seemed like a film way up my alley. I love Bill Murray and his specific sense of deadpan humor and the projects he choose usually have me really interested. As well as Adam Driver, who's easily becoming one of my favorite actors and this being a comedy horror cult B rate movie, I thought I was for sure gonna love this and overall I'm really conflicted on this one.
I really enjoyed a lot of this movie. Jim Jarmusch is a solid director and the way he is able to mix really dry and dark humor and tell the stories of people through this little small town was really enjoyable. I loved all the little spots they stop along the way were a lot of fun. I loved the set pieces and distinctive spots they chose to film these scenes in too. This little small town feels so cinematic yet also lived in. Being from Missouri, I've passed through so many towns like this in my life. Certainly more realistic portrayal of small towns then Three Billboards...
I also love the cast here. Bill Murray and Adam Driver are DYNAMITE in this and completely work here. This movie could have been an utter disaster if they hadn't gotten people who understood what this movie was going for and rolling with it. I truly think this movie alone shows that Adam Driver is gonna be a superstar we talk about for the next 10 to 20 years, his versatility is just insane.
Yet, the movie doesn't entirely come together. I think because they went for a B-Movie tone they kinda felt as though they could not think of everything through, yet the film has several questions I couldn't quite buy at the end of the day. This movie sets up a lot of characters and arcs and they go nowhere. Which I believe is intentional, but by the end it kinda makes you wonder why we even wasted time with them.
Selena Gomez is in this and that was cool to see. You see, when I was younger I had a crush on Selena Gomez when watching Wizards of Waverly Place. I know she's like a big star now but I don't keep up with that crap, so it was nice to see her here. Yes, also 10 years later I still do have a crush on her, she's really cute in this. Yet, I was always trying to find the purpose of her being here and all I could think is so a young cute girl and her hippie friends could be fotter. Which I guess is intentional to zombie movies but they set them up as being much more important then what they already are.
Some of the really deadpan jokes are hits, but a chunk of them miss the target as well. They don't quite have the timing that Wes Anderson or Edgar Wright have crafted in their films. I know what the intention of the speed and delivery is in this, but I don't think it's crafted perfectly yet. I think if they do end up nailing this super dry wit and this tone, Jarmusch is really onto something. I should probably watch more of his films soon in all honesty.
I also found the cinematography to be really bland. Everything looks so oversaturated. Once again, maybe that's the point but it just wasn't that nice to look at and I found some of the shots to have no depth at all to them. A few even felt like they weren't completely focused.
There is a scene in this where they just destroy the 4th wall, and that was my favorite part. That specific part actually gives me an idea for one of my films I want to make, so I give thanks to this movie for that.
Overall though, the definition of a mixed bag. This is totally one you could stream on Netflix when it comes on there though.