We've nearly reached the halfway point of 2019, but it is safe to say that "The Don't Dead Don't Die" will go down as one of the most disappointing films of the year.

Despite an absolutely loaded cast - headlined by Bill Murray and Adam Driver - and a promising premise, writer-director Jim Jarmusch zombie comedy never finds its footing - struggling with a tone that is too meta for its own good.

Murray and Driver play Cliff and Ronnie, part of the local police force in the small town of Centerville. It's a place where everyone knows each other and nothing much seems to happen.

But the mundane community gets rocked to its core when a series of cosmic events start a chain reaction that sees the dead rising from the grave. 

Anyone looking for the same kind of clever fun of "Zombieland" (with Murray's delightful cameo) will be highly disappointed in "Die."

From the start it is clear that Jarmusch has decided to make a movie that wants to be a big inside-joke, not just for the genre but the movie industry in general. This leads to a lot of banter that ultimately goes nowhere, despite the best efforts of the cast.

Murray and Driver play the whole thing with a drollness that fits the characters and could have been a lot of fun, but they are stuck in a dead end script more concerned with its cuteness than actually getting the audience to care about the plights of these characters.

The cast is filled out with a lot of big name talent - ranging from Danny Glover and Steve Buscemi to Chloë Sevigny and rapper RZA - but very little works with their characters.

About the only fun to be had in "The Dead Don't Die" comes from Tom Waits and Tilda Swinton. Waits has a lot of fun as a survivalist conspiracy theorist, while Swinton dies up the craziness to 11 playing a sword-wielding undertaker. Their characters are the closest the film comes to being the comically weird take on the zombie genre it is trying to be.

The rest is just a case of trying way too hard to be too clever, making "The Dead Don't Die" dead on arrival.


Sports Writer. Cover prep sports, Hot Rods baseball, Titans football, and is the Daily News staff film critic.

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