Quickie 44 – The Dead Don’t Die (2019)

or “Jim Jarmusch’s Dawn of the Dead Babies”

For those unaware of the method by which Krix and I choose our October viewing material, it’s a random draw “names in a hat” method with a few dozen horror flicks one or both of us hasn’t yet seen. Much like our previous viewing, The Final Girls, tonight’s feature is a fourth wall breaking roundabout of self-aware humor. Rather than an over-the-top ’80s slasher flick though, this time we get a small town zombie outbreak Romero style commentary about American consumerism and generational something-or-other. I’m not 100% sure. I don’t watch Jim Jarmusch movies.

Speaking of things we’ve already done this month, this is also the second feature featuring Tilda Swinton in a prominent role (as “Zelda Winston”). This mean The Tomb now has 27% more “indie cred”! Time to sit back and watch that thick-rimmed glasses and pork-pie hat money roll in!

Jaramusch! Jaramusch! Will you do the Fandango?

“So, the dead just don’t wanna die today, is that it?” – Zelda Winston

Featuring Kylo Ren and Peter Venkmin’s grandpa as the lead law enforcers in the sleepy little town of Centerville, the local yokels’ lives are in for an end of the world scenario. You know, zombie shit. As a result of polar fracking, the planet’s been thrown off its axis, which has lead to a barrage of bad news for Mother Earth. Along with daylight being thrown all out of whack, cellular signals being interrupted, domesticated animals turning feral and radios seemingly only playing the movie’s titular theme song, there’s also the little matter of the dead not dying! Well, they DID die, but now they’re rising from their graves like the hero(es) of Altered Beast to kill the living, adding them to their quickly growing ranks. You know the drill.

Though our leading men, Chief Cliff and Officer Ronnie, are taking the news like someone spiked their daily java with lithium, the other people of Centerville are reacting more appropriately, arming themselves, taking shelter, getting eaten, etc. The only civilian seemingly unconcerned with the amassed masses of mouthy meat munchers is the town’s new mortician, Zelda, a Scottish practitioner of the samurai arts who resembles the love child of than Gollum and Legolas slashfic my ex was so proud of writing. Her prominence with a katana will serve her well in a world where the solution to her primary threat is decapitation. However, her unnervingly casual reaction to the zombie apocalypse isn’t the only odd quirk about Big Z, if you know what I mean…and I really REALLY don’t think you do.

Though it’d be easy to throw The Dead Don’t Die onto the “love it or hate it” pile, given the divided opinions I’ve seen expressed online, I’m throwing myself into the third camp of “Meh”ers. I understood going in that this wasn’t going to be a basic bitch ghoul-go-round, so the absurdity didn’t take me by surprise. Hell, I’m an advocate for Wild Zero! It’s not the incredibly dry approach to the general comedy either. My issue is the uneven tone struck by combining the two. I like sushi and I like ice cream cake, but if you hand me a Fudgie the Whale stuffed with sardines, then you’d better be wearing a poncho when you present it because that’s a guaranteed bucket of barf.

I’m not sure if this is supposed to be the point of the movie, throwing us off with random acts of weirdness slapped against a mumblecore spoof background with the occasional outright ignoring of the fourth wall let alone breaking it, but it’s an odd tilt-a-whirl trip that left me more disengaged than delighted or disappointed. Meh.

Moral of the Story: I don’t know. I think there’s something in there about appreciating life while you have it to live? *shrug* [Editor’s Note/Moral Addendum: Everyone should be an advocate for Wild Zero. ::Sami Callihan voice:: EVERYONE!]

Final Judgment:

Two-and-a-Half Undead Iggy Pops out-of-Five

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All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

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