Directed by Mikael Kreuzriegler and written by Allison Volk, Deany Bean is Dead (2018) is a movie about lost love, obsession, and revenge. A morsel of dark romantic comedy with a chewy woman-scorned center, Deany Bean is Dead is not quite uproarious or slapstick comedy, but I laughed out loud many, many times at the excruciatingly awkward scenes and the film’s quirky or otherwise flawed characters.
Narrated by a podcast host named Jermain Liveswell (voiced by Jay Wallace), Deany Bean is Dead follows a lonely woman named Deanna, a dumped fiancée turned Facebook stalker who spends her days working tirelessly for a bitchy boss. When she is fired after “accidentally” causing her boss to have an allergic reaction and then subsequently decides to strangle her to finish the job, Deany goes even further off the deep end and winds up at her ex-fiancé’s engagement party with the corpse stashed in the trunk of her car. The uninvited guest makes herself comfortable by sabotaging the party and any potential for a wedding, but as her plans begin to unravel, she is forced to let go of her past and face her uncertain future.
It is not that dark of a comedy as there is only a tiny bit of murder, but instead, the film’s “darkness” is found in the journey the protagonist takes, reaching the deepest recesses of her sanity but then finding herself before she teeters off the edge completely. Writer Allison Volk, who also stars as the title character, is magnetic in her manic performance as Deany and was a perfect mix of hilarious and menacing – and oddly relatable – as she deals with a bad breakup during her quarter-life crisis.
Like something out of The Wonder Years, Deany Bean is Dead is narrated by an older man who doesn’t quite seem to be Deany’s internal dialogue but is an omniscient presence throughout the film. This narrator seems to whisper in Deany’s ear at times of anxiety – and boy, are there many – like an evil devil on her shoulder helping her to justify her negative thoughts, and later, encouraging her evil deeds. This character gives insight into the action to make the audience feel like they are in on the crime as our protagonist, Deany, carries out her antics. I loved this narrator character, that is, until the end when they had him appear alongside a hitherto unintroduced magical negro character for no reason. I get the symbolism, but introducing these characters made the movie have a brief lapse in coherence and continuity and took away from the purpose of that climatic self-revelation scene, which was to have an empowering, full circle ending for our protagonist.
I do so love a dinner party movie, The Invitation (2015) and Rope (1948) are a couple of my favorite films as their stories bring an eclectic group of people together brilliantly. A good half of Deany Bean is Dead is set during a dinner party, and, like those aforementioned classics, this film cooks up that same recipe of characters stewing in a high-pressured small room until their tensions boil over, making for some of the best kind of entertainment that can be found in cinema. Deany Bean is Dead is not one to miss out on when it is released by Global Digital Releasing on July 10th, 2020 to digital platforms.
MOVIE RATING – 8 out of 10 ☠️