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The Dead Don't Die

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Dead Don't Die Movie Poster Image
Gory zombie comedy has an offbeat sense of humor.
  • R
  • 2019
  • 105 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

It takes bravery to stand up to zombie invaders, but that's not story's point; pessimism is also prevalent. Touches on environmental themes with mention of "polar fracking." Makes fun of consumerism, right-wing points of view. One character is like a parody of a racist (e.g., wearing a "Make America White Again" hat).

Positive Role Models & Representations

No real role models, but some strong female characters.

Violence

Extreme blood and gore. Torn-open human corpses with entrails spilled out. Blood spurts. Guns and shooting. Zombies sliced with samurai sword (they ooze black powder instead of blood). Zombie attacks, chewing on humans. Skinned animal carcass.

Sex

Bare bottom of naked female zombie. Women objectified. Young woman shown bending over in skimpy shorts.

Language

Many uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus uses of "motherf----r," "a--hole," "ass," "d--k," "hell," "goddamn," and "Jesus" (as an exclamation).

Consumerism

Familiar horror-related collectibles shown. Smart Car shown/discussed. Sharpie shown. Mountain Dew logo shown. Nestle ice cream logo shown. Snapple, Snickers, Skittles mentioned. Siri mentioned. Nintendo Game Boy mentioned. Reference to Star Wars.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One zombie is referred to as a humorous alcoholic, chanting "chardonnay" over and over. Oxy is mentioned.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Dead Don't Die is an all-star zombie comedy from indie filmmaker Jim Jarmusch. Expect extreme zombie-related blood and gore, including torn-open corpses, chewing, blood spurts, spilled guts, dead bodies, guns and shooting, zombies sliced with a sword, and more. Language is also strong, with many uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. A naked female zombie appears; her bare bottom is shown. Women are briefly objectified, and one young woman is shown bending over in short-shorts. A zombie character is referred to as an alcoholic who chants "chardonnay" over and over; another zombie chants "oxy." Many brands are referenced or shown, but mainly as commentary on consumerism, rather than in a promotional sense. Many viewers' interest may well be piqued by the popular cast (which includes Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Selena Gomez, and more), but only a few -- especially those familiar with Jarmusch's deadpan, sardonic humor -- will really click with this wonderfully weird movie.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byALCF July 25, 2019

Not good

This was a really low quality movie. I like zombie movies but this wasn't worth my time. Wasn't funny, scary, or even interesting in any way. Even... Continue reading
Adult Written byJRB2 July 13, 2019

This take on the zombie movie needed to be funny, .... but it wasn't

We knew we were walking into another zombie movie. The only promising twist is that the star cast promised some comedy. As expected the sub plots were all pr... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byTryMe July 29, 2019

Don’t bother with the negative reviews, man!

This movie was as good as it was graphic and outright weird (and that’s saying something!) It was graphic, but only for a little bit. One shot of zombies eating... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old July 8, 2019

good

very kid friendly

What's the story?

In THE DEAD DON'T DIE, small-town police officers Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) and Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver) notice that the sun isn't setting as the hour grows late. A radio report talks about the possible effects that polar fracking has had on the earth's rotation. Then, as night finally falls, two zombies appear, entering the diner and killing two women there. The police, accompanied by officer Mindy Morrison (Chloë Sevigny), investigate the carnage and are left puzzled. More strange events occur, including the disappearance of various animals. When night comes again, more zombies emerge, and the three officers prepare to do battle, aided by the town's mysterious new samurai sword-wielding mortician, Zelda Winston (Tilda Swinton). As the heroes make their way to the cemetery, it becomes apparent that there's more to this strange story than meets the eye.

Is it any good?

While this all-star, deadpan zombie comedy won't appeal to everyone, its wry commentary and postmodern goodness make it ideal for fans of sardonic writer/director Jim Jarmusch. The horror genre may seem like the total opposite of Jarmusch's style, but The Dead Don't Die is nonetheless a strange delight, a fitting companion piece to Jarmusch's angsty vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive. Most of the movie's incredible cast have worked with Jarmusch before, and they seem to be having laid-back fun; none of the characters gets terribly frazzled by the zombie attacks. But the film's low-key humor will definitely fall flat for those who aren't already attuned to the filmmaker's offbeat rhythms.

Miraculously, Jarmusch manages to have his brains and eat them, too, effortlessly combining political jokes with self-referential ones. Radio chats about "polar fracking" eerily mirror today's style of political debates, and the zombies have a funny consumerist streak. Meanwhile, a character runs a horror movie memorabilia shop out of the local gas station, and the theme song by Sturgill Simpson is available on CD, even as the movie is happening. The Dead Don't Die offers a few more truly bizarre surprises as things go on, as well as plenty of laughs. Viewers shouldn't expect anything like Ghostbusters or Groundhog Day, but die-hard, deep-dive Murray fans will find much to treasure.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Dead Don't Die's violence. How much is shown? Does it seem appropriate, or does any of it feel gratuitous? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of horror movies?

  • Why do you think zombies are so popular? What's interesting or scary about them? What do they have to say about who we are as humans?

  • The movie refers to "polar fracking." What does this mean? What are the arguments for and against it in the movie? How do these things apply to real life?

  • How does the movie depict its racist character? Does he seem like a real person? What's the definition of "caricature," and what purpose does it serve?

Movie details

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