The Dead Don't Die: Five Reasons You'll Love It
Ever since he made his breakthrough with his 1984 film Stranger Than Paradise, picking up the Camera d'Or award for debut features at the Cannes Film Festival, Jim Jarmusch has been steadily carving out a reputation as one of the most singular and unique directors working in the film industry. While you won't see his name attached to many big-budget blockbusters, Jarmusch is credited with almost single-handedly changing the face of independent filmmaking with his early work in the 1980s, defying just about every established convention in the process.
With a filmography that includes cult classics such as Down By Law, Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai and Only Lovers Left Alive, Jarmusch has earned a reputation as one of the most influential directors working today, commanding respect from critics, peers and actors.
If any proof of the latter were needed, one need only glance at the cast list for his latest outing The Dead Don't Die, a zombie-themed comedy which stars a veritable laundry list of Hollywood A-listers including Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny, Selena Gomez, Danny Glover and Carol Kane, as well as few surprising guests stars such as Tom Waits, Iggy Pop and Wu-Tang mastermind RZA.
Murray and Driver star as two small-town police officers who begin receiving reports of strange happenings around their town, including animals missing from a farm and pets behaving strangely, but it isn't long before things begin to get a whole lot weirder.
With the film heading into cinemas today, we caught an early screening and rounded up five reasons why we think you'll love Jarmusch's latest movie...
It has all the deadpan wit you'd expect from a Jim Jarmusch film
From the various recurring gags to the clever use of the Sturgill Simpson song from which the film takes its name, The Dead Don't Die is every bit as sharp and witty as you'd hope and some of the film's funniest gags occur when things take a very meta twist. This might just be the funniest zombie flick since Shaun of the Dead.
The whole cast is simply outstanding
Bill Murray is a predictably brilliant presence in the lead role of Centerville's permanently bewildered chief of police, but the entire cast is absolutely stellar in Jarmusch's new film. The oddball characters are genuinely hilarious, from Steve Buscemi's racist farmer in his red 'Keep America White Again' hat to Caleb Landry Jones' movie-loving gas station attendant, and the cameos from a zombified RZA and Iggy Pop are some of the movie's real highlights.
Tilda Swinton is the film's secret weapon
Besides Bill Murray, we could easily single out any of Adam Driver, Chloë Sevigny or Tom Waits for their excellent performances here, but perhaps the best of the bunch is Tilda Swinton's wonderfully eccentric funeral parlour owner Zelda, who is not only surprisingly handy with a samurai sword, but is also more closely bound up with the strange happenings in Centerville than it first appears.
The haunting soundtrack adds plenty of tension
Besides Sturgill Simpson's recurring theme song, the rest of the score for the film – provided by Jarmusch himself and Carter Logan under the name of their musical guise SQÜRL – makes use of moody synths and eerie atmospherics reminiscent of John Carpenter's early horror soundtracks, adding plenty of suspense in the film's more tense moments.
The ending is... not what you'd expect
Without wanting to spoil one of the film's funniest running jokes, Adam Driver's police officer Ronnie Robertson warns from the outset that things are “going to end badly”, and it's fair to say that's accurate, but we very much doubt you'll guess exactly how weird things get in the film's closing sequence.
The Dead Don't Die is in cinemas now