How ‘The Dead Don’t Die’ Handles Its Zombies

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“It’s zombies.”

One character’s simple explanation for the chaos happening in a small town is all you need to know to prepare for the new horror comedy from Jim Jarmusch. The movie, which uses an all-star cast to tell its apocalyptic tale, provides plenty of deadpan dialogue, and in-between, moments of undead-slashing action. This scene includes both, with Carol Kane as a zombie with white-wine longings. She only says, “Chardonaaaay.”

“These undead in our film have a kind of vestigial memory for one thing that they were obsessed with when they were alive,” Jarmusch explained. “And in this case, being the town drunk, her obsession was chardonnay.”

But don’t expect a complete blood bath. The filmmaker also said that he didn’t want to make a splatter film. The movie does get occasionally bloody, but only when the undead are attacking the living. The zombies are just made of dust inside, which rises into the air when they are slain. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” he said.

Read the “Dead Don’t Die” review.

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Mekado Murphy is a senior staff editor with a focus on movies coverage. He joined The Times in 2006. @mekadomurphy

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