I honestly had no clue what to expect from this film going in. I wasn’t familiar with the filmmaker but I’m a fan of Tilda Swinton, Adam Driver, and Chloe Sevigny so I thought it had potential to be worthwhile. I was hoping for something like Simon Pegg’s The Worlds End, a funny film with interesting characters and energetic performances from the cast. Unfortunately, The Dead Don’t Die has none of those admirable qualities. This film fails on just about every level, and that’s especially sad given the talent involved here.
I want to start with the plot we’re given and why it’s a complete dud. So literally the plot is just that zombies raise from the dead and wreak havoc on this small town. That’s it. I kept thinking things will heat up or something other than this will happen but I was wrong. The plot consists of these unbelievably boring, unfunny characters slowly coming to realize what’s going on, and then fighting zombies. A film of this type is supposed to be jam packed with good comedy that lands and charismatic characters to bring everything to life. It’s shocking to me just how boring and unfunny this turned out to be. I thought back after seeing it and I don’t think I laughed a single time.
All the comedy is so one note and bottom of the barrel. It felt like they just didn’t really know what to do so they threw out some stuff to see if it would work. The bad jokes are made even worse by the films painfully slow pace. Because it’s so slow, almost slow enough to lull you to sleep, the poorly written comedy is much more noticeable. And just to be clear, I wouldn’t have had an issue with a few phoned in jokes, just as long as there was a good amount of comedy that actually landed, but that’s the thing…real comedy is nonexistent here. The script just grinds its gears for the whole hour and fifty minutes. The layout here is also really strange. The plot isn’t cohesive in any way and the characters are all over the place. Characters are introduced here that don’t do anything at all, they bring nothing to the table. Not only are there characters that are completely unimportant, but characters also do weird random things that just don’t make any sense.
If you wanted to throw in some random stuff for them to do that was funny then that would work, but it’s not even funny it’s just weird. This is a very talented, well decorated cast and it’s so frustrating that none of them get to do anything worthwhile, not a single one. The only positive thing I could come up with for this film is that I like seeing people like Adam Driver and Tilda Swinton, but even that’s not really a positive because the script throws their talent out the window by not giving them anything to do. It’s truly shocking to me just how sloppy and pointless this whole thing is, this film begs the question: why??
The Dead Don’t Die is very puzzling, I just don’t know how the filmmakers watched this and thought yes this is good. There’s not a single laugh to be had here and every single ounce of talent involved goes to waste because of the scattered inane script. If you’re like me and see all the high profile names on the poster and think it’ll be worthwhile because of that, you’re wrong. Don’t waste money on this now and don’t waste time on it when it’s released on streaming.