The Dead Don't Die (2019 film)

The Dead Don't Die is a 2019 American ensemble zombie horror comedy film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. It features an ensemble cast including Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, 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 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
Kill the Head[1][2]
Distributed byFocus Features
Release date
  • May 14, 2019 (2019-05-14) (Cannes)
  • June 14, 2019 (2019-06-14) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes[3]
CountryUnited States[2]
Box office$14.9 million[4][5]

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 $14.9 million.


Responding to a complaint from farmer Frank Miller regarding a missing chicken, small rural town 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 8 pm while Ronnie notices his watch and cell phone have stopped working. Farmer Miller talks about Hermit Bob with hardware store owner 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. A song called "The Dead Don't Die" plays on the radio, which Ronnie tells Cliff is the theme song.

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, and his cats are missing. 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 around Centerville. At the diner, the waitress tells her customer Hank 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. Two zombies obsessed with coffee reanimate when night finally falls and maul the two diner workers 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 them.

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, they 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 and tell them to not go out at night. 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 and offers help. The three officers go out on patrol together, leaving Zelda alone at the station, where she sends an encrypted computer message using their computer. Cliff, Ronnie, and Mindy find Zoe and her 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 has played numerous times during the movie, and Cliff throws it out of the car window.

Hank and Bobby are overrun by zombies in the hardware store. Hermit Bob sees zombies mauling Farmer Miller. Geronimo, Olivia, and Stella flee the juvenile detention center. Zombies surround the patrol car when it gets stuck at the cemetery. Mindy runs out of the vehicle to join her dead grandmother in the zombie horde. Ronnie tells Cliff he knew it would end badly because Jim gave him the entire script, while Cliff only got the pages for his scenes with Ronnie.

Zelda takes Ronnie's car through town and then walks calmly through the cemetery. Zombies amble away from the patrol car as a spinning UFO suddenly hovers over Centerville Cemetery. Cliff and Ronnie are astonished as the UFO beams up Zelda and flies away. Cliff and Ronnie decide to go on the attack, as Ronnie says it is in the script. The two officers exit their car and begin killing undead Centerville residents including Bobby, Farmer Miller, Danny, and Mindy. Hermit Bob observes the fray from the woods through binoculars, monologuing and lamenting the world is a terrible place as zombies eventually overwhelm Cliff and Ronnie.



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.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8][9][10][11]

Filming took place in and around small communities north of New York City, including Ancram, Elizaville, Fleischmanns and Margaretville, New York.


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


Box officeEdit

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.[4][5]

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $2.4 million from 613 theaters.[14]

Critical responseEdit

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 54%, based on 290 reviews, with 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."[15] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 53 out of 100, based on 52 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[16]

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."[17]

The New York Times said "Jim Jarmusch's The Dead Don't Die respects the horror genre without really committing to it."[18]

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."[19]


  1. ^ Gleiberman, Owen. "Film Review: 'The Dead Don't Die'". Variety. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b Grierson, Tim (14 May 2019). "'The Dead Don't Die': Cannes Review". Screen Daily. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  3. ^ "Official Selection". Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "The Dead Don't Die (2019) – Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "The Dead Don't Die (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  6. ^ "... Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton will be doing a Zombie film with Jim Jarmusch". Twitter. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  7. ^ Stearns, David Patrick (2018-03-21). "Bill Murray visits Philly with a high-brow variety show and a caffeinated cure-all: 'You'll be ready to peel varnish off walls'". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ McNary, Dave (July 13, 2018). "Jim Jarmusch Is Making a Zombie Movie With Bill Murray and Selena Gomez". Variety. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Kroll, Justin (23 July 2018). "Caleb Landry Jones Joins Jim Jarmusch's Zombie Movie 'The Dead Don't Die'". Variety. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ McNary, Dave (March 27, 2019). "Jim Jarmusch's Bill Murray Zombie Movie to Hit Theaters in June". Variety. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "The Dead Don't Die (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  16. ^ "The Dead Don't Die Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  17. ^ Leininger, Alex (June 19, 2019). "'The Dead Don't Die' Confronts Climate Change with Deadpan Whimsicality". PopMatters.
  18. ^ Scott, A. O. (June 13, 2019). "'The Dead Don't Die' Review: Zombies Gobbling Up Scraps of Pop Culture". The New York Times.
  19. ^ McCarthy, Todd (May 14, 2019). "'The Dead Don't Die': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter.

External linksEdit