Afterllife of the Party
Afterlife of the Party is a party in and of itself – there’s a lot to love and it’s great fun for any casual viewer. It’s an emotional journey, filled with some comedy and plenty of tears, but it also has a handful of negatives that are difficult to ignore.
One of the production’s major problems is its tendency to tell and not show, thus resulting in unnatural delivery of lines: “impromptu dance party with my best friend since first grade” and “love you my bestie since we were six” are just two examples. The information that the film tries to spoon-feed breaks immersion. The script also loves to state the obvious, mentioning Cassie’s birthday multiple times in several scenes, and featuring lines such as, “Is that my half-sister? I never met her” (the latter half being unnecessary since the question already implies they’ve never met!). However, the actors do manage to drag the material out of troubled waters with a fantastic dynamic.
On their own, there’s nothing special about the individual cast members, but it’s how they play off of one another that truly keeps the movie afloat. Victoria Justice (as Cassie) and Midori Francis (as Lisa) bring out the rage in each other throughout their arguments. Robyn Scott (who plays guardian angel Val) embodies the perfect mother figure for Justice’s unruly character. She has enough wit and spunk to glam up the humour, but still maintains a stern edge.
The camerawork varies, from some shots with a lot of life to others that are generic and boring. These are interestingly utilised to help progress the storytelling: focus to highlight emotions, and angles to showcase the different perspectives people have of Cassie’s ghostly presence. While the vibrancy of the film is indicative of Cassie’s personality as the life of the party, it sometimes hinders creating tone for certain scenes. This doesn’t help the audience empathise with what the characters are going through.
All of that said, the film is more than just the conflict of its central role. In general, the whole concept of angels and the in between is a cliché, but an effective angle to use in a story with a moral message about selflessness.
Afterllife of the Party is released on Netflix on 2nd September 2021.
Watch the trailer for Afterllife of the Party here: