Photo by Marcos Cruz. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Darby and the Dead from 20th Century Studios is now available to stream on Hulu. This is a supernatural teen comedy that focuses on a high school student that has the ability to talk to the dead. It features a cast of familiar faces you may recognize from earlier projects on Disney and Nickelodeon. A film that I would call a combination between Mean Girls and The Sixth Sense with a familiar plot that with a simple path can be enjoyed by audiences. Especially watching from the confronts of our homes and devices.
Darby and the Dead starts by giving us some background on why Darby Harper, played by Riele Downs. As a result of a near-death experience when she was young, she has gained the ability to communicate with dead people. Specifically, those who have not crossed over to the afterlife for one reason or another. She spends her time counseling the spirits and assisting them with whatever unfinished business they feel they have on Earth. Due to this she is an introvert and is shut off from people in High School.
But that all changes when Capri, played by Auli’i Cravalho, the most popular girl in school and member of one of the most exclusive cliques dies after a freak hair straightener accident. Forcing Capri and Darby to have to communicate and work together to try and help Capri complete her unfinished business of still having her over-the-top “Sweet 17” party.
To accomplish this task, Darby must transform herself into the kind of person she never thought she would be and have the party in place of Capri, and in the process maybe be forever changed.
While Darby and the Dead is not going to win any awards or blow audiences away, it’s a solid film. There is a familiar journey of Darby going from a teenager living in the shadows per se, to the top of popularity. While the attention grabber may be the ability to speak to the dead, the heart of the story stays with Darby in the world of the living.
There is also good chemistry between Downs and Cravalho. They both go down the path of understanding and learning about each other which at some points leads to friction. Its a well-balanced story with good pacing. While we know where the film is headed, the characters are good enough to where we are pleased to continue on the path with them.
Darby and the Dead is a solid film that I think will resonate with the younger crowds. They can empathize with a lot of that High School/Teenage drama that the characters go through. One that is easily accessible from the confront of their devices on Hulu.
Darby and the Dead is directed by Silas Howard and written by Becca Greene. It has a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes.
OVERALL GRADE: B