Following an evening out to celebrate her forthcoming birthday, soon-to-be 25-year-old Cassie has an accident at home, passes out, and dies rather suddenly. Cassie awakes to finds herself in the ‘In Between’ – a spiritual space which exists somewhere between Heaven and Hell.
In the ‘In Between’, Cassie is met by Val, a guardian angel. Val informs Cassie that she is being given an opportunity to work her way into Heaven, but only if she can right a few wrongs with some of her nearest and dearest back on Earth.
Sent to the mortal realm as a spirit and given just five days to complete her task, Cassie has to find a way to make peace with those she has left behind. But although it feels like mere seconds since she arrived in the ‘In Between’, time has progressed a year since Cassie died and she finds everyone is now in a much different emotional space, making things a little trickier than she expected.
The above premise belongs to Afterlife of the Party, a new supernatural comedy which has recently landed on Netflix. The film stars Victoria Justice, Midori Francis, Robyn Scott, and Adam Garcia, and is directed by Stephen Herek.
The movie slipped onto Netflix over the weekend, and is likely to have gotten lost in the mix as it arrives with little publicity. And unless you pay a great deal of attention to all of the streaming service’s latest releases, Afterlife of the Party will continue to remain under the radar as it is an unremarkable film at best that I don’t believe will benefit from word of mouth.
I’m not here to hate on it, it’s certainly not something which causes any kind of offence, but I can’t give it the ‘thumbs up’ either. This is a fairly lacklustre offering from Netflix and definitely not ‘must-see’ material.
Afterlife of the Party is a low budget picture, which looks and feels very much like a small-scale television movie. The film doesn’t feature huge names, there are no significant scenes of spectacle, and it is not going to win any awards for style, substance or originality.
Does that make Afterlife of the Party a bad movie? Strangely no, it just doesn’t make it particularly noteworthy either.
Afterlife of the Party is best described as adequate. The cast is fine, with all of the actors doing what they can with what they are given, and there’s a general sense that everyone involved with the production is doing their best, but there is simply not much going on here.
This movie feels like weekday afternoon fare – the sort of thing that pops up in the two-hour slot between a lunchtime news bulletin and a daytime quiz show. It is the kind of movie that you only really watch when you are home from work due to illness, it’s already playing on TV, and you can’t be arsed to get up and switch it off.
It’s not bad, it’s not good, it just is. Afterlife of the Party is the equivalent of ‘meh’.
On the plus side, I made it through the film from start to finish without wanting to push my own head through the television set – not bad going when compared to some of the dross that pops up on streaming services. On the down side, if I was to die right now, with this being the last movie I ever watched, when I come back as a ghost (and I will come back as a ghost), I will be more upset about the two hours spent on this movie, rather than the fact I am dead.
Director Stephen Herek has a number of well-known movies on his CV, including Critters (1986), Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead (1991), The Mighty Ducks (1992), and 101 Dalmatians (1996). Just looking at this list, Herek has made a bunch of movies which are still watched by audiences today, and in some cases (Critters being a prime example) he has demonstrated he knows exactly how to get low-budget material onto the screen.
But Afterlife of the Party is not any of the pictures listed above. It is run-of-the-mill stuff which doesn’t do anything particularly wrong, but it lacks any real imagination.
From a technical point of view, Afterlife of the Party is fine, but I don’t expect it to have the same kind of longevity as any of the movies I’ve just named. Heck, I don’t expect many people will remember it in a few months’ time, let alone the years that follow.
Afterlife of the Party is watchable, but forgettable.