The Dead Don’t Die Parent Guide
Darkly funny, this zombie movie benefits from a brilliant cast and solid directing.
Parent Movie Review
Police Chief Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) patrols the sleepy town of Centerville with his officers, Ronnie (Adam Driver) and Mindy (Chloe Sevigny). Their quiet routine is shaken up when two women are found killed and partially eaten in the local diner. Could a wild animal (or several) have done this? Ronnie has another theory: the dead have risen and now stalk the streets of Centerville…
This is not a movie for everybody. Content aside, the quirky style and comedic approach of this film are appealing to a pretty specific group of moviegoers – and it’s not a broad audience. Believe it or not, I appreciate this approach, mainly because I just so happen to be one of those weird movie nerds with a dark, dry sense of humor and an overdeveloped sense of impending doom towards whom this movie is aimed. And a movie that knows its audience and targets them specifically rather than watering itself down to put bums in seats (cough… Men in Black: International…cough) is being honest with you. If you’re not sure if you’d like this, go watch the trailer. It’s a very accurate sampling of the kind of comedy you can expect.
Despite being produced by industry insider Focus Features, the film retains a strong “indie” style. You can attribute that to oddball director Jim Jarmusch, notable primarily for his other off-the-wall indie flicks. The other obvious stylistic tell is the cinematography, which has none of the fast-paced editing so common in Hollywood lately, relying instead on long takes that let the actors use their own comic timing to full effect.
The cast is obviously one of the big draws for The Dead Don’t Die and they’re having a grand old time. Bill Murray and Adam Driver have great comic energy, and the way they work off each other was enough to get me laughing as much at their silences as at their lines. Bill Murray may be getting older, but he hasn’t lost any of the brilliance that made him so electric in Stripes and Ghostbusters. Adam Driver, despite being best known for playing a Star Wars villain, has had a lot of success in big comedies lately, from Logan Lucky to BlacKkKlansman, and I really want to see him in more comic roles.
I should point out that this movie’s laughs come with some pretty significant content issues. Not surprisingly for a zombie movie, there’s a fair bit of death, with partially eaten dead bodies frequently visible. The zombies aren’t gory, though: when they are killed black dust puffs out of them. And trying to kill them involves lots of violence and multiple weapons. There’s also frequent profanity in the film, which may deter some viewers.
Overall though, The Dead Don’t Die is one of the best comedies released lately, and certainly the best dark comedy (especially compared with the awkward joylessness of Cold Pursuit) I’ve seen in a long time. I’ve warned you, so know before you go if this is in your wheelhouse: deadpan vs the undead isn’t a big market.Directed by Jim Jarmusch. Starring Bill Murray, Adam Driver, and Tom Waits.. Running time: 105 minutes. Theatrical release June 14, 2019. Updated June 19, 2019
Watch the trailer for The Dead Don’t Die
The Dead Don’t Die
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Dead Don’t Die rated PG-13? The Dead Don’t Die is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for zombie violence/gore, and for language.
Violence: Being a zombie movie, there are frequent shots of dead bodies with bites taken out of them. A dozen or so individuals are killed and partially eaten on camera, par for the course in a zombie movie. The zombies themselves seem to be full of some kind of black dust, so when they are killed… well, re-killed, they just puff out the dust rather than any kind of blood or gore. Dozens of zombies are shot, run over, and decapitated through various means including but not limited to gardening shears, shotguns, axes, and katanas.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There is frequent use of swearing with sexual expletives and scatological terms accounting for over 40 of the approximately 60 profanities in this movie. Terms of deity and anatomical phrases are also used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None. One character is described as an alcoholic with an affinity for cheap chardonnay, but no one is shown drinking any.
Page last updated June 19, 2019
Loved this movie? Try these books…
A must have for every teenager who grew up during the height of zombie culture in the early 2000’s is Max Brook’s “The Zombie Survival Guide”, which lists in surprising (and well considered) detail the preparations and strategies essential for preserving humanity amidst the shambling remains of the formerly alive. A more conventional sequel, World War Z, followed, and was adapted into a movie starring Brad Pitt.
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Adults in the mood for zombie movies can check out Zombieland, starring Jessie Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, and Emma Stone. A sequel titled Zombieland: Double Tap is due to release early this October. And Shawn of the Dead is one of the great zombie classics for mature audiences.
As far as classic zombie movies go, George Romero’s 1978 Dawn of the Dead set a lot of the genre tropes that those comedies play with. Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead is itself nearly a comedy, but also inhabits a spot in my list of classic undead flicks.
If you’re looking for zombie films that aren’t R-rated, you can try Warm Bodies, a Romeo and Juliet type story between a zombie and a living human. For a sillier take on the genre, period drama fans can check out Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Although the novel from which it is adapted is more of a vampire story, 2007’s I Am Legend steers more towards a classic zombie movie, with a lone man hiding out from his fellow humans who, after being infected by a man-made virus, now act like crazed beasts.