The Dead Don't Die ★½

Jim Jarmusch’s genre films (with one major exception) are rather vacuous exercises, probably because “A Jim Jarmusch Film” is in itself a genre, one defined by sardonic observation more than plot. So the resulting combination of sensibilities, obnoxiously on display here, is a film that never satisfactorily coheres into anything. One one hand you’ve got a genre exercise without any new approach to the storied material, and on the other a bunch of reliable actors going through the motions without any real suspension of disbelief. You never get the sense, for instance, that the police chief Bill Murray plays is really afraid of what’s happening to the population of Centerville, but rather playacting that experience as though the mere presence of Bill Murray in this circumstance is going to be enough to entertain you. The film is also dismissively self-aware, which I see as a sort of defense mechanism against any critique of it, like some slacker that’s been roped into a high school musical and does the bare minimum to get it over with.