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  • Writer's pictureMr. Pat

The Dead Don't Die

While walking our girlies after I get off work and Lincoln gets off school, he likes to wear my old Jason mask and carry around my foam machete. I don't know what the neighbors think, but he is the coolest. For day two of my body battling some annoying bug, I checked out...

The Dead Don't Die (2019)

If you know me, you know I'm a fan of the zombie genre. I've watched movies and shows, read books, played games (board and video) and I wrote a novel myself. Camping with the Dead can be found on Amazon or at the link right here! In my opinion, one of the reasons that they are such a fun monster is there's a lot more comic potential with those undead shamblers than any other major monster, save for the creatures in the awesome Grabbers. That's why when I saw trailers for this movie I was on board but when I saw the cast I knew I had to see it. I just didn't know it would take four years to get to.

Bill Murray plays a police chief in a small town called Centerville. He's with another officer played by Adam Driver and they're trying to talk to the local hermit about a stolen chicken. Murray grew up with the guy and doesn't like the farmer who made the accusation, so he ignores the hermit's taunts and the fact that he fired a shot at them. The opening scene is pretty funny and the deadpan nature sets the tone for how the movie is going to be. No one reacts like a normal person would. The one character who has a rational response when shit hits the fan seems out of place because the people the movie spends the most time on are very calm about the whole thing.

While driving away they notice the clock says it's 8:20 PM, but it's still light out. There's some talk on the radio that it has to do with polar fracking and it's thrown the Earth off its axis, causing electronics to stop working and messing up night and day. Later, when it's actually dark, two zombies get up from their graves and attack two workers at a diner before making off with the coffee pots. It's not long after that the officers come to investigate that Adam Driver suggests it's zombies and minutes later it's just accepted as fact. The movie explains later how Driver knew this but it doesn't take much convincing for people to accept it. From there, more zombies show up and the movie switches the points of view to see how the other characters are faring during the zombie apocalypse.

I think the word I would use to describe the movie is disappointing. I enjoyed the movie for what it was, but the way it was marketed I thought it was going to lean more towards comedy. It's entertaining enough but with the lesser focus on humor, you'd think they'd increase the horror elements, but it's just not there. You get a solid movie but nothing really that makes it stand out. I expected more, to be honest, I mean look at this cast! It has Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Selena Gomez, Rosie Perez, Iggy Pop, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, RZA, and Carol Kane! That is an all-star cast and it's a shame they couldn't do more with it.

My favorite thing about the movie is the deadpan delivery of Driver and Murray. They're very matter-of-fact about their situation and nothing gets to Murray until the very end when they're surrounded by zombies in their car. They have a discussion and Driver explains that he's so calm because he's read the entire script. Yeah, the movie breaks the fourth wall and it's kind of a funny scene but it's so casual a conversation you wonder exactly what kind of movie you're watching. Then it gets even weirder because a UFO shows up and takes someone away and Bill Murray asks if that was in the script, to which Driver says no. Then we have a final showdown and the movie ends a few minutes later. There are loose ends and a lot of questions but the filmmakers can just point to the last ten minutes and ask, "Do you really think it matters?"

It's not bad, but the ending kind of feels like a copout. I know it's not the case but I can't shake the feeling that when making this movie, they wrote themselves into a corner and instead of finding a way out of it, they just changed the rules of the world they made. Still, I liked it and if you like deadpan humor and Bill Murray being Bill Murray, I think you'll like it too.

6.5 Dr. Chainsaws!

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