The Dead Don’t Die Blu-ray Review

From writer/director Jim Jarmusch comes The Dead Don’t Die, which tells the tale of the peaceful town of Centerville, which finds itself battling a zombie horde as the dead start rising from their graves. Check out Ralph Potts’ Blu-ray review from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

89

Details:

Studio and Year: Universal – 2019
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 104 minutes
Genre: Horror/Comedy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloe Sevigny, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Rosie Perez, Iggy Pop. Selena Gomez, Caleb Landry Jones, RZA, Carol Kane
Written & Directed by: Jim Jarmusch
Music by:Squrl
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: September 10, 2019

“The Road to Survival Could be a Dead End”

Synopsis:

“The peaceful town of Centerville finds itself battling a zombie horde as the dead start rising from their graves.” – Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

My Take:

In the sleepy small town of Centerville, something is not quite right. The moon hangs large and low in the sky, the hours of daylight are becoming unpredictable, and animals are beginning to exhibit unusual behaviors. News reports are scary, and scientists are concerned, but no one foresees the strangest and most dangerous repercussion that will soon start plaguing Centerville: the dead rise from their graves and feast on the living, and the citizens must battle to survive.

Hmmmm, The Dead Don’t Die, from writer/director Jim Jarmusch definitely has his flair for deadpan humor and his ability to dabble in off kilter perspectives regrading the human condition which, in this case, is built around consumed by a zombie apocalypse. I like the film’s B-movie tone and, wink and nod elements but, it tries too hard to place its social commentary regarding society’s various obsessions with material and immaterial things and, the comeuppance they have coming as a result, that it loses it way.

The cast is comprised of well-known actors, many of whom have appeared in Jarmusch’s previous works. In that vein I think that the essence of what he was striving for here is allowed to come through, as is the level of satire and purposeful absurdity. If the film had stuck to giving us more of the somber, interesting and, wacky fly on the wall deadpan zom/com humor with less of the biting commentary it probably would have gelled in an entertaining mashup sort of way.

Truth be told there were definitely things that I liked about The Dead Don’t Die and given Jim Jarmusch’s penchant for storytelling I may give it another go to see if it bears fruit. As it stands after a single viewing my overall reaction is lukewarm.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for zombie violence/gore, and for language.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

The Dead Don’t Die comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

This film’s visual style doesn’t lend itself to eye catching color or infinite levels of dimension but this is a creative decision that doesn’t reflect negatively on its presentation. Resolution is excellent with clearly rendered images that exhibit refined levels of detail during close ups and discernible depth of field in wide angle shots. The chromatic range is purposefully limited to muted primary colors and softer secondary hues. That coupled with the drab lighting schemes and dark cinematography makes for a visually pallid but thematically affecting look. Skin tones among the cast vary and range from Rosy to pale while appearing textural and predominantly lifelike. Blacks are deep and dynamic and shadow detail is excellent. I didn’t see any signs of video related artifacts in this whistle clean high definition presentation that looks terrific.

The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack offers detail rich clarity while making use of the entire surround platform to support the film’s thematic elements. Dialog is firmly planted in the center channel and clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and balance within the front soundstage. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is notable. Dynamic range is solid which enriches the authority of low frequency effects contained in the mix. There isn’t perpetual use of the surround channels and subwoofer however when applied the effects aptly support the recorded elements.

Bonus Features:

  • Bill Murray: Zombie Hunting Star
  • Stick Together
  • Behind the Scenes of The Dead Don’t Die
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch The Dead Don’t Die features his unique style set to a B-movie zombie/comedy plot that misses more than fires on all cylinders. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring solid technical merits mated with a middling supplemental package. The Dead Don’t Die has its share of moments, especially for those that typically enjoy his films. In that light it qualifies as a rental when you’re feeling up to rolling the dice on movie night.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems