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The first trailer for Jim Jarmusch’s zombie movie is deeply wacky

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The Dead Don’t Die looks like a big, silly departure

Photo: Focus Features

Indie writer-director Jim Jarmusch isn’t exactly known for his wacky slapstick comedy. For decades now, Jarmusch has made movies that mostly reside in an area of cool, detached grunge. His early classics, like Stranger Than Paradise, Down By Law, and Mystery Train, all operate in a melancholy that’s removed from the world. That same drifting, dreamy tone extends to films like Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai and his previous feature film, 2016’s poetry-focused portrait movie Paterson. So it’s a little odd to see him embracing full-on goofy comedy beats in the trailer for his upcoming zombie feature The Dead Don’t Die.

The trailer is a who’s who of favorite Jarmusch actors from his decades of filmmaking, including Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Tom Waits, Tilda Swinton (swinging a katana and sporting an Irish accent), Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Carol Kane, Danny Glover, rapper RZA, and Iggy Pop. It looks like Jarmusch is taking a rare meta approach to zombie comedy, with characters who are fully aware of the existence and reputation of zombies, as opposed to characters who have to spend half the movie denying that the living dead could exist. It also looks like he’s going for a bright, goofy, over-the-top tone that his films have never had before. Even his vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive, starring Swinton and Marvel movie favorite Tom Hiddleston as weary immortals, was largely mournful and pensive. This feels closer to Zombieland than it does to any past Jarmusch film.

The Dead Don’t Die is slated for wide theatrical release on June 14th, 2019.