Cassie (Victoria Justice) and Lisa (Midori Francis) have been best friends since childhood, but during the week of Cassie’s 25th birthday (an annual tradition of weeklong partying fondly dubbed “Cassie-Palooza”), the fact that they’ve recently been growing apart becomes glaringly obvious. After a tearful disagreement, Cassie suffers a sudden accident, and dies.
In the afterlife, an angel (Robyn Scott) breaks the news to Cassie that she has not yet ascended to heaven as she still has unfinished business down below. It’s been a year since her death and her loved ones still haven’t moved on. Cassie -the-Ghostly-Apparition will have 5 days to fix things with her mother, her father, and of course with dear Lisa.
To be honest, I really didn’t care to watch this movie. From the Netflix thumbnail alone it looked like the kind of low-budget schmaltz-fest that I have little room in my life for. However, the need to review is strong in this one, so after spending a whole day refusing to make eye contact with it, I eventually acquiesced in a moment of weakness around 1:30am.
Most shitty movies, as you may be aware, have a music montage in them. Some good movies have them too, but all shitty movies have at least one, often more, the signature move of a director who’s out of ideas but not time, padding for an inadequate script. This particular shitty movie actually starts with a music montage, which is kind of like wearing a MAGA hat in public: a fair warning to all that the contents herein are definitively shitty. Steer clear for your own good. Nevertheless, she persisted.
Is Afterlife of the Party a good movie? It is not. It’s not even a good title! Don’t butter my butt and call me a biscuit, Netflix. Netflix Originals are hit and miss. Or hit and miss and miss and miss, more like. Often they’ll give writers a rest and let their algorithm make the movie for them. What do people want? Music, romance, foreign accents, fairy godmothers, second chances, and once in a while, a croissant. So Netflix stitched these seemingly random items together and they called it Afterlife of the Party. Will people click on it and watch? Likely yes. Possibly in droves. Not Bridgerton droves, not Tiger King droves, not Extraction droves, but still, millions of people, especially young women, who like movies that are easily digestible, 30% fashion show, and an opportunity to have a little cry. And it’s actually not that bad. The cast seems no-name to me, but it’s decent, and the costumes and sets aren’t as low-budget as I’d feared. But it’s brainless and predictable and not super high quality. The rest of us should rewatch Beasts of No Nation. Or Mank. Or The Irishman. Or To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, by thunderation, which is still many miles ahead of this one.