The peaceful town of Centerville finds itself battling a zombie horde as the dead start rising from their graves in the first trailer for , director Jim Jarmusch‘s deadpan foray into the zombie-comedy genre.
It’s an interesting new direction for Jarmusch, but based on the trailer, the genre is tailor-made for his idiosyncratic style and deadpan wit.
His career took off in 1984 with his first major film, . Shot entirely in black-and-white (a signature of the director’s early work), the film won the Caméra D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival that year and established the director as a darling of arthouse cinema.
Movies like , , and further cemented his status. In 2005, Jarmusch won the Grand Prix at Cannes for , which starred Bill Murray as middle-aged man searching for the mother of the son he never met. And Jarmusch is no stranger to unusual takes on traditional horror stories, as evidenced by his 2013 “crypto-vampire love story,” .
Murray mentioned in an interview with last year that he had signed on to co-star in a new zombie movie from Jarmusch. Murray, of course, had a well-known cameo in the 2009 film , in which he played himself pretending to be a zombie to fool the undead hordes over-running Los Angeles. He called Jarmusch’s script “hilarious” and confirmed he would be playing a zombie in . He plays Police Chief Cliff Robertson with his trademark deadpan wit, which bounces nicely off Adam Driver’s Officer Ronald Peterson.
The all-star cast—many of whom, like Murray, have worked with Jarmusch on prior projects—also includes Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Rosie Perez, Selena Gomez, Tom Waits, Sara Driver, Caleb Landry Jones, and RZA. Iggy Pop and Carol Kane show up as zombies seeking out coffee and a glass of chardonnay, since these zombies apparently gravitate toward things they did while they were alive (including tennis). Tilda Swinton shines as a Scottish morgue attendant who honestly is not that good at makeup; her bodies end up looking like escapees from a 1980s Culture Club music video. But she has a secret passion for Japanese swordplay: “I’m quite confident in my ability to defend myself against the undead.”
Other Centerville residents don’t always fare so well, although Driver’s Peterson shows considerable dexterity with a makeshift machete to behead the encroaching zombie horde. “Those are some pretty good cuts. You played some minor league ball, didn’t you?” Robertson asks. “A little class A, but it was a long time ago,” Peterson acknowledges. All in all, should be a welcome addition to the zombie comedy genre.
hits theaters on June 14, 2019.