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Movie Review

Did you know that polar fracking can throw the Earth off its axis? Do you know what happens when the world is thrown off its axis? Well, oceans swell, day and night blur, and those buried beneath the ground come back to life.

Yup: Zombies.

But who actually believes in zombies? Not the people in the pleasant little town of Centerville. Well, not most of ‘em, anyway.

A quiet, unassuming place, Centerville brims with blissfully unaware citizens who spend their days doing the same predictable things. And police officers Cliff Robertson, Ronnie Peterson and Mindy Morrison are no different.

Of course, the undead have a way of waking up a sleepy town pretty quickly. Well, kind of. When Cliff, Ronnie and Mindy are called to the local diner to investigate the deaths of two women, Ronnie deduces that the only possible explanation is an attack by the living dead.

And he’s right. But knowing that your town is headed for complete destruction doesn’t mean you’ll be able to save it.

Positive Elements

Hermit Bob, the town’s local, forest-ridden outcast, acts as a narrator throughout the film. In the end, he compares soulless zombies with those of us who pursue material possessions as the chief goal in life.

A group of young kids in a juvenile detention center band together to survive the zombie outbreak.

Spiritual Content

Zombies are considered to be “the living dead.” They are the reincarnated, former versions of themselves, but without souls. They’re referred to as “ghosts,” “ghouls” and “the undead.”

A guy named Bobby Wiggins runs a gas station that’s also filled with comic books and paraphernalia featuring monsters, zombies and Halloween decorations. Bobby is jokingly, and cruelly, referred to as a “hobbit” and as “Harry Potter.”

A young girl wakes from a “bad dream” about zombies, which is actually a premonition. Other men and women are also open about their own premonitions throughout the film. A woman bows and meditates in front of a statue of Buddha. A man crosses himself. [Spoiler Warning] Aliens make an appearance, too.

The song “The Dead Don’t Die” plays throughout the entire film. One line says, “The afterlife goes on.” A final point in the film tells us that zombies have lost their souls, just like those of us who live for our material possessions.

Sexual Content

Male zombies wander around shirtless, and one female zombie is seen unclothed from behind. A young woman wears short shorts, and the camera spends some time focusing on her rear. A few men ogle her backside, too, and one says that he has “an affinity for Mexicans.”

A juvenile detention ward officer jokingly asks a young boy if he wants to be “a girl,” because he’s hanging out with his female friends. Men and women flirt with one another.

Violent Content

Before police officers and citizens have time to prepare for the zombies, two of the undead crawl out from their graves and brutally kill two women. The zombies eat the women’s stomachs and other organs (and the women, who aren’t dead yet, scream and moan in agony). We see the women’s innards and entrails on the floor.

Elsewhere, zombies are covered in blood as they eat the dismembered limbs of their victims. (There is, naturally, lots of screaming and writhing in agony from humans as they’re consumed alive).

In preparation for the zombie outbreak, police officers and other readied citizens carry guns, cleavers, hedge shears and anything else they can get their hands on to kill the rotting invaders. Police officer Ronnie Peterson tells anyone who will listen that the only way to kill a zombie is to decapitate it, thus severing its spinal cord.

In one particularly gruesome scene, Ronnie walks into the hotel room of three young adults who’ve just been killed by a zombie. Ronnie decapitates all of them before they have a chance to turn into zombies themselves. Blood flies in all directions and splatters onto the glasses of a fellow officer. Ronnie later holds a decapitated, dripping, head.

Zelda Winston, a woman who works at the local morgue, weilds a katana to decapitate zombies. Other men and women behead a multitude of the undead (we see noggins roll and smoke rise from their severed limbs over and over again). Throughout, dead bodies litter the ground.

A young woman voluntarily gets out of a car and lets zombies kill her. A skinned animal is seen lying on the ground. A woman is attacked by her cat (we hear), and her arms are covered in scratches.

Crude or Profane Language

God’s name is miused more than 20 times, often paired with “d--mit,” while Jesus’ name is misused nearly 10 times. The f-word is heard nearly 30 times and the s-word, more than 20. Other profanity includes sporadic uses of “d--mit,” “d--n,” “a--,” “h---” and “d--k.”

A wild man says that an ant migration pattern is “all jacked up,” and aggressively tells a foe “up your hole with a wooden pole.” A kid yells out “eat me” to an elderly man—never a wise thing to scream during a zombie outbreak.

Drug and Alcohol Content

A female zombie was formerly known as the town alcoholic. The sheriff comments that “even dead,” she still “wreaks of Chardonay.” Elsewhere, she’s called a “drunken old goat.” A zombie waits outside a drug store asking for Xanax.

Other Negative Elements

Although it’s played for laughs (and irony, of course, a key element in this film), the citizens are cluelessly unaware, mindless drones who believe everything they hear on the news.

Centerville’s local farmer, Farmer Miller, is a rude, disgraceful man. He yells often, falsely accuses the innocent and has a history of making enemies. He wears a hat that says “Keep America White Again.”

Two young men make fun of the town’s sweet, but awkward, outcast. A woman vomits after seeing two mangled bodies.

Conclusion

You can’t make another zombie movie unless, of course, you make it satirical. And this movie is ironic to its core. In fact, it’s so ironic and self-aware that it almost has no point. Get it?

I basically sat through this entire star-studded affair trying to stay awake. Yeah, yeah, I get that this zombie satire’s supposed * to be funny. But it isn’t. And I get that it’s *supposed to have a message. But it doesn’t, save perhaps some nods toward the soul-sucking scourge of materialism.

What it does have, however, are hanging plot points, a barrage of language, and enough rolling zombie heads to land itself in a pile of dismembered, pointless chaos.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Bill Murray as Cliff Robertson; Adam Driver as Ronnie Peterson; Eszter Balint as Fern; Steve Buscemi as Farmer Miller; Austin Butler as Jack; Rosal Colon as Lily; Maya Delmont as Stella; Danny Glover as Hank Thompson; Selena Gomez as Zoe; Caleb Landry Jones as Bobby Wiggins; Carol Kane as Mallory O'Brien; Rosie Perez as Posie Juarez; Iggy Pop as Coffee Zombie; RZA as Dean; Luka Sabbat as Zach; Chloë Sevigny as Mindy Morrison; Tilda Swinton as Zelda Winston; Tom Waits as Hermit Bob; Taliyah Whitaker as Olivia

Director

Jim Jarmusch ( )

Distributor

Focus Features

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

June 14, 2019

On Video

September 10, 2019

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults
We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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