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Film / The Dead Don't Die

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The Dead Don't Die is a 2019 Zombie Apocalypse film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. It features an All-Star Cast.

Featured tropes:

  • Attractive Zombie: Zelda spots an attractive zombie woman wearing a revealing tennis outfit. She comments that the skirt "isn't her tartan" before killing her.
  • Author Appeal: Jim Jarmusch is a noted fan of coffee, as evidenced by his film Coffee and Cigarettes. The first two zombies of the film attack a diner because they're obsessed with coffee.
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  • Back-to-Back Badasses: How Ronnie and Cliff make their last stand.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Zelda's final scene sees her picked up by a flying saucer. According to Ronnie, that wasn't in the script.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Standard procedure for killing a zombie.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Early on, Ronnie states that the music he's playing on the car stereo is the "theme song," and repeatedly notes that "this is all going to end badly." In the final act, he reveals that he's read the script of the film and knows how it's going to end.
  • The Cameo: Many of the big-named stars in the cast appear in what are essentially cameos. Perhaps the most notable is Sturgill Simpson, who provides the theme song and the name of the film, has a cameo as the Guitar Zombie.
  • Cool Car: Several characters comment on how cool Zoe's muscle car is. Zelda notes her appreciation of the SMART car, though it's not really played as cool.
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  • Dark Comedy: Everything is played for dark humor rather than horror.
  • Flying Saucer: Zelda gets picked up in one. She's apparently an alien.
  • Genre Savvy: Unusually for a zombie film, most people are already aware of what zombies are and what the rules are for killing them.
  • Green Aesop: It's not exactly subtle about it. The Zombie Apocalypse is explicitly caused by polar fracking while the presidential administration lies about it. Two sympathetic characters drive fuel-efficient cars (a Prius and a SMART car).
  • Human Aliens: Zelda passes for an albino woman, but she turns out to be an alien.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Ronnie often needs multiple full-strength blows to decapitate a zombie, and he's even complimented on his swing. Zelda, however, decapitates zombies using her katana with casual ease. It might have a little to do with the fact that she's an alien.
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  • Kill ’Em All: Just about every character dies, and Zelda is perhaps the only character who isn't doomed.
  • Last Stand: Ronnie and Cliff go out in a blaze of glory, killing zombies in a cemetary. They know it's a last stand before they begin, with Ronnie having read the script.
  • No Zombie Cannibals: As is typical for a zombie film, the zombies don't attack each other.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Notably averted. Ronnie announces very early on that he thinks the problem is zombies.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Ronnie patiently explains to Chief Cliff how to kill zombies.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Once Zelda figures out what's happening, she arranges for a pick-up and departs the planet.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: None of the characters or plot lines really develop into much, and almost everyone dies.
  • Take That!: Shots fired at the Trump administration aren't particularly subtle, though his name is never mentioned. Farmer Miller, whom everyone described as an asshole, wears a MAGA-inspired hat reading "Keep America White Again." The disastrous polar fracking is portrayed as a policy of the lying presidential administration, which is obviously a shot at Trump's environmental policy.
  • Title Drop: The name of the song that provides the film's title is mentioned and played many times.
  • Titled After the Song: "The Dead Don't Die," by Sturgill Simpson. Of course, in the song, it's metaphorical.
  • Vomiting Cop: Mindy vomits after seeing the aftermath at the diner.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Geronimo, Olivia, and Stella are last seen escaping from the juvenile detention center and going into a supposedly safe place. We don't find out what happens to them afterwards. Hermit Bob's fate is also left unknown; he observes the final battle from the distance and calls the world a terrible place right at tthe end of the movie.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Fairly classic zombies, with the idea that they pursue the obsessions they have in life made very explicit.
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