The Dead Don't Die (2019 film)

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The Dead Don't Die
The Dead Don't Die.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJim Jarmusch
Produced by
Written byJim Jarmusch
Music bySQÜRL
CinematographyFrederick Elmes
Edited byAffonso Gonçalves
Distributed byFocus Features
Release date
  • May 14, 2019 (2019-05-14) (Cannes)
  • June 14, 2019 (2019-06-14) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes[1]
  • United States
  • Sweden
Box office$13.7 million[2][3]

The Dead Don't Die is a 2019 American horror comedy film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. It features an ensemble cast including Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Austin Butler, RZA, Tilda Swinton, Tom Waits, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, Rosie Perez, Carol Kane and Selena Gomez and follows a small town's police force as they combat a sudden zombie invasion.

The film had its world premiere as the opening film at the Cannes Film Festival on May 14, 2019 and was theatrically released in the United States on June 14, 2019, by Focus Features. It received mixed reviews from critics and grossed over $13 million.


Responding to a complaint from farmer Frank Miller regarding a missing chicken, Centerville police officers Cliff Robertson and Ronnie Peterson briefly confront local eccentric Hermit Bob in the woods. On their drive back to the station, Cliff remarks that it is still daylight after 8pm while Ronnie notices his watch and cellphone stopped working. Farmer Miller talks about Hermit Bob with hardware storeowner Hank Thompson at the local diner. Hank hears a worrisome radio report about polar fracking. Hank and diner waitress Fern also wonder why it is not dark outside.

Following a news report seen at the Centerville Juvenile Detention Center, Geronimo tells fellow young inmates Olivia and Stella that polar fracking has altered the Earth’s rotation. Deliveryman Dean drops off rare magazines with gas station owner Bobby, who also sells pop culture memorabilia out of his store. Moonlight Motel owner Danny Perkins watches broadcaster Posie Juarez’s news report about pets behaving strangely. Farmer Miller also notices that his farm’s animals have disappeared.

Cliff and Ronnie regroup with Mindy Morrison at the police station. The three officers discuss the strangeness going on around Centerville. Ronnie and Mindy leave Cliff alone with the corpse of town drunk Mallory O’Brien for the evening. Hank, Fern, and overnight cleaner Lily discuss Mallory at the diner. After Hank leaves, Lily tells Fern about Zelda Winston, the odd new undertaker at The Ever After funeral home. Meanwhile, Zelda practices her sword skills in front of a Buddha statue in the funeral parlor’s backroom. Two zombies obsessed with coffee reanimate when night finally falls. The two zombies maul Fern and Lily inside the diner. Hank summons Cliff, Ronnie, and Mindy to the diner when he discovers the bodies in the morning. Ronnie tells Cliff he believes zombies slaughtered Fern and Lily.

Zoe and her traveling companions Jack and Zach stop for fuel at Bobby’s gas station. After buying Sturgill Simpson’s “The Dead Don’t Die” compact disc from Bobby, Zoe and the two young men check into Danny’s Moonlight Motel. Cliff and Ronnie discuss the diner murders with Danny. The two officers meet Zoe, Jack, and Zach while at the motel. Danny mentions that his cats went missing. Olivia, Stella, and Geronimo also discuss the diner murders at the juvenile detention center. Geronimo suggests an impending zombie apocalypse is responsible for the deaths.

Cliff and Ronnie find open graves when they investigate the cemetery. Hermit Bob spies on the men from a distance before separately concluding zombies are loose. Ronnie gives Cliff guidance on how to kill zombies. Bobby and Hank have a similar conversation as they prepare weaponry. More zombies rise from the dead that evening. Danny is attacked at his motel and turns undead. Zoe, Jack, and Zach lock themselves in their room after a Posie Juarez news bulletin warns them of the danger.

Cliff and Ronnie bring supplies back to the police station and tell Mindy about the zombies. Mallory O’Brien reanimates. Ronnie decapitates Mallory. Two corpses reanimate inside the funeral home. Zelda beheads them with her sword. Zelda then meets with Cliff, Ronnie, and Mindy. The three officers leave Zelda at the station while they go out on patrol together. Cliff, Ronnie, and Mindy find Zoe and her two friends dead when they investigate the motel. Ronnie beheads all three bodies to prevent them from reanimating. Ronnie takes Zoe’s Sturgill Simpson CD, which Cliff later throws out of the car window.

Hank and Bobby are overrun by zombies while holing up in the hardware store. Hermit Bob sees zombies mauling Farmer Miller. Geronimo, Olivia, and Stella flee the juvenile detention center when zombies overtake the building. Zombies surround the patrol car when it gets stuck. Unable to deal with her anxiety after seeing her undead grandmother, Mindy exits the vehicle and lets the zombie horde kill her.

Having previously driven through town, Zelda continues slashing her way through zombies on foot. Zombies amble away from the patrol car as a UFO suddenly arrives to hover over Centerville Cemetery. Cliff and Ronnie observe in astonishment as the UFO beams up Zelda and flies away. Cliff and Ronnie decide to go on the attack. The two officers exit their car and begin killing undead Centerville residents including Bobby, Famer Miller, and Danny. Cliff becomes upset when he sees Ronnie behead Mindy. Zombies eventually overwhelm Cliff and Ronnie. Hermit Bob observes the fray through binoculars while commenting to himself about the situation’s metaphoric meaning.



In February 2018, during the press tour for Isle of Dogs, Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton announced their involvement in a zombie film directed by Jim Jarmusch.[4]

In March 2018, Murray announced that Daniel Craig and Rosie Perez were set to costar. Speaking of the project, Murray stated:

It’s a zombie movie. Jim Jarmusch has written a zombie script that’s so hilarious and it has a cast of great actors: Rosie Perez, Daniel Craig. It's titled The Dead Don't Die, and it shoots over the summer. But, no, I will not play a zombie.[5]

In July 2018, it was announced that Adam Driver, Selena Gomez, Chloë Sevigny, Austin Butler, Steve Buscemi, Tilda Swinton, and Caleb Landry Jones had been cast alongside Murray, though Craig did not appear in the film. Joshua Astrachan and Carter Logan produced the movie, while Focus Features distributes.[6][7][8][9]

Principal photography began in July 2018 in Fleischmanns, NY, about 140 miles outside of New York City.[10]


The Dead Don't Die had its world premiere as the opening film at the Cannes Film Festival on May 14, 2019.[11] The film was released in the United States on June 14, 2019[12] and on July 12, 2019 in the United Kingdom. The studio spent $2–3 million on domestic promotion.[13]


Box office[edit]

The Dead Don't Die has grossed $6.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $5.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $12.2 million.[2][3]

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $2.4 million from 613 theaters.[13]

Critical response[edit]

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 54% based on 239 reviews, and an average rating of 5.78/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "The Dead Don't Die dabbles with tones and themes to varying degrees of success, but sharp wit and a strong cast make this a zom-com with enough brains to consume."[14] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 54 out of 100, based on 48 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[15]

PopMatters wrote "It's a curious film, one that acknowledges the end of the world blatantly without once forgetting to be steadfastly, almost dementedly, silly. It's a smart if minor work from a masterfully innovative director."[16]

The New York Times said "Jim Jarmusch's The Dead Don't Die respects the horror genre without really committing to it."[17]

The Hollywood Reporter said of the film "At times, the deadpan of Murray and Driver becomes, well, a bit deadening, and true wit is in short supply, even though the film remains amusing most of the way."[18]


  1. ^ "Official Selection". Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "The Dead Don't Die (2019) – Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "The Dead Don't Die (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  4. ^ "Also, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola told me that they are working on what they call „the french movie" (no further details) and Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton will be doing a Zombie film with Jim Jarmusch". Twitter. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Bill Murray visits Philly with a high-brow variety show and a caffeinated cure-all: 'You'll be ready to peel varnish off walls'". Philadelphia Media Network. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  6. ^ Raup, Jordan (July 13, 2018). "Jim Jarmusch in Now Filming a Zombie Movie Starring Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Selena Gomez, and Chloë Sevigny". The Film Stage. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  7. ^ McNary, Dave (July 13, 2018). "Jim Jarmusch Is Making a Zombie Movie With Bill Murray and Selena Gomez". Variety. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  8. ^ Galuppo, Mia (July 13, 2018). "Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton to Star in Jim Jarmusch's Zombie Comedy 'The Dead Don't Die'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  9. ^ Kroll, Justin (23 July 2018). "Caleb Landry Jones Joins Jim Jarmusch's Zombie Movie 'The Dead Don't Die'". Variety. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  10. ^ Chavez, Paul (July 13, 2018). "Selena Gomez films in bloody red T-shirt and Daisy Dukes for star-studded zombie movie in New York". Daily Mail. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  11. ^ Keslassy, Elsa; Lang, Brent (April 10, 2019). "Jim Jarmusch's Zombie Movie 'The Dead Don't Die' to Open Cannes (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  12. ^ McNary, Dave (March 27, 2019). "Jim Jarmusch's Bill Murray Zombie Movie to Hit Theaters in June". Variety. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  13. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (June 16, 2019). "'Men In Black: International' Domestic Passport Revoked With $26M Opening, 'Shaft' Drops His Gun With $7M+: Summer Sequelitis, Here We Go Again". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  14. ^ "The Dead Don't Die (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  15. ^ "The Dead Don't Die Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  16. ^ Leininger, Alex (June 19, 2019). "'The Dead Don't Die' Confronts Climate Change with Deadpan Whimsicality". PopMatters.
  17. ^ Scott, A. O. (June 13, 2019). "'The Dead Don't Die' Review: Zombies Gobbling Up Scraps of Pop Culture". The New York Times.
  18. ^ McCarthy, Todd (May 14, 2019). "'The Dead Don't Die': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter.

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