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Zombie movie genre conventions are held up for mockery in this painfully ironic, agonisingly hip anti-thriller. Which would be fine, if writer-director Jim Jarmusch didn’t follow so slavishly the genre conventions of the Jarmusch movie. Wry jokes, an impressive cast of Jim’s chums and Tilda Swinton wreaking zombie havoc with a samurai sword will probably be enough for diehard fans of arthouse oddball. But this is a testing experience even for people who loved the deadly ennui of Only Lovers Left Alive, Jarmusch’s take on the vampire movie and in some ways a sister picture to this one.
The performances are so deadpan (or undeadpan perhaps) that most of the cast seem to be flatlining even before the zombies start chewing chunks out of their faces. The screenplay leans heavily on the idea that enough repetition will eventually make a banal line – Adam Driver’s glum assertion that “this is going to end badly”, for example – funny. Admittedly, some of it is drily amusing, and Jarmusch has fun juxtaposing scenes of explosive gore with the laconically understated reactions of various cast members. But there’s sloppiness to the storytelling – one subplot, about a group of teenage escapees from a detention centre, simply fizzles out. And Jarmusch is not above grave-robbing previous zombie movies for ideas. Like George Romero, he links the relentless, lumbering hunger of the undead to consumption – in this case, however, the monsters are craving wifi coverage rather than the contents of a mall. We are all zombies now, is the suggestion, whether or not we have a pulse.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: The Dead Don’t Die review – painfully ironic | Film