31st Jul2020

‘Deany Bean is Dead’ Review

by Chris Thomas

Stars: Allison Marie Volk, Christopher Glenn Cannon, Colin Taylor Martin, Sarah Sidak, Wendy Wilkins, Paulina Bugembe, Melanie Leanne Miller, Paul Tigue, Kaitlin Huwe, Brett Chapin, Jennifer Champion, Nicholas Thurkettle | Written by Allison Marie Volk | Directed by Mikael Kreuzriegler

Deany Bean is Dead kicks off with our protagonist Deany (Allison Marie Volk) sleeping in a car, staking out a house while a murder podcast plays. It is encouraging the listener to murder their enemies by repeatedly pointing out how brilliant it would feel. It is quite odd and unbelievable. I found myself asking the question… if I do not have any enemies, does that mean I lived a boring life?

The podcast is foreshadowing the film, but it is doing it in a clunky way that does not quite work. It acts as a form of Dexter-style narration, but it does not quite work. It is not a bad idea as a convention, but it is too ham-fisted to be effective and it holds the whole thing back. The film makes a good effort to tie that up at the end, but it is not worth the pay off for the cheesy convention throughout the film.

Deany has an ex fiancé, that she is stalking. She also has a classic horrible office boss. One day Deany is pushed too far and, in a moment of madness does a murder. She then ends up being accidentally invited to a dinner party at her ex’s house while grave digging (the one she has been stalking). At the beginning of the dinner party she is desperate and has no power but as the party goes on and events unfold she gains more and more of what she wants until things completely unravel and we are left the pick up the pieces of the exploding social situation.

There is fun to be had in Deany Bean is Dead‘s dull, middle class, red wine conversations about self-indulgent holidays and therapy. The dull, middle class twaddle is well observed. Allison Marie Volk does a good job as Deany, in fact, the acting in general is particularly good. The direction is also decent and the whole package is very professional. This is a well-made film, with talented actors and a proper director and everything.

Deany Bean is Dead is a dark farce, that is nowhere near dark enough. Despite a solid premise and good intentions, it does not quite work. We do not get the gravity of the crime. It could have been an extremely intense situation, the body in the back of the car, while Deany confronts all the people who have been horrible behind her back while everyone has to play nice and sip wine. The tone of the film is light and playful: it does not sit with how dark the situation is. The pressure of the dinner party and the dead body in the boot of the car never manage to hit the levels of tension they should. The situation of the film means that it walks an incredibly delicate balance, far more than other films and it is all too easy for everything to plunge off the rope stretched out over the crevasse. By the end, the light tone is explained, and things are wrapped up extremely neatly, but the indifference to murder still seems extremely odd from the nice, middle class office assistant. From her indifference to the grave situation I was expecting Deany to turn out to be a psychopathic serial killer. I cannot look past that point.

There is a good idea here, and to a point I enjoyed it, but it does not quite work. Deany Bean is Dead is, however, a noble failure.

Deany Bean is Dead is available on demand, across the US, now via Global Digital Releasing.


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