*This post contains spoilers for the movie, “Darby and the Dead”
Darby and the Dead is a supernatural comedy teen movie. It is a mixture of Mean Girls and Do Revenge, a Netflix movie that came out earlier this year. It came out just this Friday, December 2nd, 2022. I hate teen movies, purely due to the number of crappy love triangles and awful references to trends. The trailers piqued my interest, so I found some time to watch it.
The opening scene is the background of the main character, Darby Harper played by Riele Downs. It introduces us to her brush with death at age 7. This event leads to her being able to see the dead, or as she calls them ‘Deados’. She runs a business helping them move on to the afterlife. She’s an anti-social outcast. Consequently being name the school ‘weirdo’ by the popular girl.
Capricorn “Capri” Donahue, played by Auliʻi Cravalho, and Darby had a past. The two did cheer together when they were younger but after the passing of her mom, Darby dropped it all. Around the 10 minute mark you see the big event of the movie take place. Capri falls into the water and then electrocutes herself, by accident. She then dies in front of her 3 best friends. Darby, Taylor played by Kylie Liya Page, Bree played by Genneya Walton, and, Piper played by Nicole Maines.
Darby heads home to sleep after the traumatic event. She is woken by the sight of Capri, demanding that she be brought back to life. Darby now has to resolve Capri’s final wish of attending her Sweet Seventeen in a month. So that Capri can pass on to the afterlife.
Darby agrees after some very aggressive persuading of Capri. Better said as Capri gained abilities(?) after death and can control things with an electric force.
Darby then is taught by Capri how to become a popular girl, she tries out for the cheer team and makes it. Her next task is to become best friends with all of Capri’s old squad, Bree, Taylor, and Piper. Once Darby becomes one of them she suggests the idea of still having Capri’s Sweet Seventeen but using it as a memorial and ‘spreading awareness for accidental electrocution’.
Capri is pushing Darby into this image of popularity that she ends up becoming addicted to. She starts to let the praise and popularity control her. She goes as far as to stop hanging out with her new friend and supposed love interest, Alex. They had a budding friendship at the beginning but now that Darby is busy with all of the popular crap she can no longer be seen with him. Due to the fact that he’s the mascot, the rest of Capri’s crowd finds him a weirdo.
Darby then starts hanging out with Capri’s boyfriend, James, and helping him with his schoolwork. This results in James growing attached to her, during his first day back at school he reaches and holds Darby’s hand. Everyone immediately thinks they’re dating, which is very odd considering it’s been less than a month since his girlfriend’s death. It said that James hates the whole idea of the memorial to Capri saying that it’s stupid and Darby agrees even though she helped plan it.
James develops feelings for Darby, which she knows will be awful due to Capri’s over-protectiveness and obsession with him even in death. Eventually, Capri finds out and loses her mind. She starts crashing Darby’s life, even insulting her mother which results in a big falling out between the two.
Darby gets called on by James to come to take a drive with him. He admits he thinks Capri is trying to talk to him, which she is. He drives them both to the party without telling Darby, lowkey creepy, and says he has to do it for Capri.
Capri possesses an ouija board and floats it above everyone at the party. Forcing Darby to give cringe, even the characters said it, spoke about how ‘She’s a weirdo who can see ghosts and was molded like this by Capri, etcetera, etcetera’, very much the classic Caddy Haring at Spring Fling confession scene in Mean Girls. She leaves, totally embarrassed and everyone at school thinks she’s gone crazy.
When returning the next day, she lost all status and she had returned to her weirdo position. Capri meets with her after school and apologizes, then comes a plot twist where Capri finds Darby’s mom who still hasn’t passed on to see her. Capri decides she’s ready to move on and does it the most dramatic way possible, flying into the sky and turning into glitter. Darby reopens her service for the dead with the new help of Alex, who can also see the dead (plot twist). And it ends happily ever after.
So this movie wasn’t all trash, some of the best scenes are definitely towards the beginning. My favorite was in a montage of Darby being trained by Capri before the cheer tryouts. They are at the beach and Darby is looking at the ocean, thinking of the death of her mother. When Capri asks her about her mom, Darby shuts down immediately, but Capri insists. The beautiful scene of friendship is shown when Capri tells Darby to shout her feelings, and they both do so. It was an incredible moment of friends from the characters. Which is why I am severely disappointed that their time as friends was cut short.
I have many, but that is to be expected from a movie like this, and my bias of myself. My main one would be the DREADFUL scene at the end of the movie where it’s revealed that Alex can see the dead and Darby talks to us the audience. Breaking the fourth wall isn’t too bad of a thing in a movie, most main characters do it in teen movies. As Darby is addressing the audience, Alex is brought into the frame where he says that he can ‘see [us] too’. I was disgusted by this scene, it was unnecessary and very cringey. It felt so out of place with the whole movie. I would NEVER want to see this happen in a movie ever again.
In summary, I would give the movie a 3 out of 10, it was pretty bad but some of the movies were entertaining and had quality in some parts. Even with the plot being lost, rushes, and the characters not being built well it still kept me entertained for the most part.