Where I Watched it: hulu
English Audio Description Provided By: Pixel logic
Narrated By: Jackson Colores
While I enjoy the fact that I’ve likely seen more films than most print critics, or will have seen, of the 2022 releases, I really do watch some totally useless and forgettable films. The kind of films that don’t get me traffic, either here or on my Youtube. but, there’s a better film in Darby and the Dead, it’s just one that the filmmakers didn’t want to tell.
They could have told the story about Darby growing up, and being in a tragic accident where she loses her mom, but gains the ability to see dead people, and help them move on. That is a fun film, and the emotional core of her trying perhaps to see her mom one last time (Yes, Casper), could have provided this emotional core. no, instead, this film is about a girl who has this cool ability, but ends up spending the whole film with her classmate who dies, and wants to makeover Darby and make her popular and a cheerleader.
instead of exploring the rules of how Darby’s powers work, and how she splits her school life with working with random ghosts, it turns into just a bland version of a teen comedy where someone needs a makeover to have people like them, but really it’s the process of seeking others attention that gives them the realization that they just need to love themselves.
The whole seeing dead people thing is wasted on this film. Then it becomes just another teen comedy, and while it has a charming cast, with some surprises (Tony Danza?), it doesn’t offer anything new, despite the fact that it totally could have. Hell, Darby could be helping the entire football team or cheerleading squad one by one, in a heart and Souls type story. That would be a fresh take. Kill off a group of her classmates in a bus accident, and suddenly Darby finds herself needing to accomplish an entire football teams worth of goals?
It’s like, i can come up with a dozen different ways for this film to be interesting, but the people who chose to make this, chose to make the least interesting one. But, why?
The film has some nice audio description, and since Darby is followed most of the film by a ghost, it does have to play with that element, of what the ghost can do, why others can’t see them, even though she’s around talking all the time. Watching this film without audio description would have made me turn my tiny thumbs up into a tiny thumbs down. I’m sure of that.
Even with that tiny thumbs up, I feel generous somehow. But, I enjoy teen movies. And, considering where I’ve graded other similar films, C+ seems fair.
Final Grade: C+