It’s a romantic comedy package deal, crammed with cringe-worthy moments, laugh-out-loud conversations, romance in unexpected places, and …
Deany Bean is Dead wants to have a little more “fun” than most romantic comedies. Dark humor tinged by themes of death and suicide puts the movie in its own unique sub-genre: comedic—yet surprisingly heartfelt—horror.
Here’s where it starts: Podcast host Jermain Liveswell tells murder stories and describes the mind of murderers in a haunting, yet grimly hilarious, fashion. Our heroine, Deany Locke, listens to Jermain’s podcast. She soon realizes that the sequence of events in her life could likely be the next Jermain Liveswell episode.
Deany Locke is over her life. These days she works as a law firm assistant where the weeks are monotonous and dull, her boss mistreats her, and her fiancé just broke up with her.
It would be an exaggeration to say that Deany wants to kill herself. Instead, she’d rather murder someone else.
Acting on an impulse, Deany murders her boss. Ah, but where to dispose of the body? Why not the backyard of her ex-fiancé, Tom? Perfect, right?
It seems luck is not on Deany’s side. Tom’s new fiancée, Angela, discovers Deany at the house. Angela doesn’t know that Deany and Tom were once engaged, so she invites Deany to the party happening that night, believing Deany is just one of Tom’s good friends.
An awkward dinner party ensues. Disgruntled brothers Tom and Myron argue, therapist Dr. Harris and his girlfriend Tara watch the family disputes uneasily, and Deany tries to win back Tom. All along, the body of Deany’s dead boss, still locked away in her car trunk, presses upon her mind.
Deany begins in a dark place at the start of her story. When her fiancé suddenly dumps her, unbidden thoughts of suicide and murder creep into her mind. Deany attempts to remedy her situation, but she only seems to entrench herself further in misery and despair.
Despite the darkness, Deany’s journey teaches her about romantic relationships and her identity. She realizes that maybe Tom is not the right man for her. In fact, maybe stepping away from relationships for a time is exactly what she needs at this stage in her life.
She concludes, “I need to get more solid,” a realization that leads to some emotional growth. Deany’s suicidal thoughts retreat, and the movie gives hope for those struggling with this hardship (albeit amid a truly ludicrous plot involving murder, it should be noted again). Along the way, someone encourages her by saying “a woman has more self-worth than what she finds in a guy.”
As for Angela, she really does try her best, but she just seems to be a helpless victim in this chaotic movie. She invites Tom’s brother, Myron, to her engagement party, a noble effort to help heal the sibling’s broken relationship. She welcomes the uninvited Deany into the party. When Deany makes everyone’s night miserable, Angela continually repeats to herself, “I need to be compassionate.”
However, Angela’s patience and kindness are put to the test when Deany crashes her engagement party and spills all of Tom’s dark secrets, perhaps forcing her to reconsider her desire to marry Tom and “create a happy family.”
Deany deals with her break up with Tom by saturating herself in a weekly “spiritual meditation trauma group.”
At the dinner party, Deany runs into her ex-therapist, Dr. Harris. Deany dreamily explains what her meditation group does. Deany talks about sharing “energy blocks,” meditating and then releasing those “energy blocks.”
Dr. Harris shakes his head, saying “That’s just ludicrous New Age healer talk.” It’s not “scientific,” he argues. He encourages Deany to quit the meditation group and continue therapy with him instead.
A man fondly calls an inebriated woman, a “saucy, saucy vixen” as he licks hummus of her fingers, and his date looks on in horrified jealousy.
Meanwhile, Deany is still desperately trying to steal back Tom. She kisses another man to make Tom jealous. We see another couple kiss on the back porch and fall onto the couch.
Deany’s co-worker, Izzy, tires of seeing Deany trying to win back Tom, and she encourages her friend to “just get a dildo and move on with your life.” We see Deany throw the sex toy in the trash.
Tom calls Angela an “intelligent, sexy woman” and rubs her shoulder, while the other dinner guests awkwardly look on.
It’s perhaps suggested that Dr. Harris is in a professionally inappropriate relationship with a young student named Tara.
Suicide rears its ugly head in this ghoulish comedy, which is the darkest thematic undertone running under its comedic veil. From the outset, Deany is at war with her mind. She contemplates suicide and almost jumps from a building, but she is stopped. In addition, Tom spreads the rumor that Deany helped a woman commit suicide.
Deany often thinks about murdering others, and eventually she does kill her boss. Jermain Liveswell’s voice haunts her mind, and she often imagines herself committing the murders that are described on his podcast.
Physical violence is never shown in any bloody detail. Instead, the movie expresses violence with comedic, dark language and disturbing mental battles.
We hear f-word 13 times, the s-word 10 times. Jesus and God’s names are abused eight times combined. Other profanities are used a hndful of times, including “a–hole,” “b–ch” and “h—.”
When Deany’s boss fires her, Izzy jokes, “You just gotta get drunk. Come get drinks with me tonight.”
At Tom and Angela’s dinner party, plenty of alcohol makes its rounds. Guests help themselves to a table stuffed with bottles. Myron brings a large bottle of clear liquid, presumably vodka, as a gift for the hostess.
Couples guzzle wine, some takes shots of vodka; a few guests show signs of inebriation, such as slurred speech and impaired motor abilities.
Characters smoke occasionally.
Deany Bean is Dead is wrapped up in lies and deceit.
The premise of the movie stakes is built upon our protagonist trying to get away with murder. But Deany runs into problems trying to hide Maxine’s body, and soon a web of lies ensnares her.
Tom consistently manipulates people to get what he wants. He steals the rights to someone’s book and publishes it under his own name. He plays a love game throughout the movie with his unwitting victims, Deany and Angela. He promises himself in marriage to one woman, and the next moment he sweet talks the other and swears he will marry her.
Deany Beany is Dead is an awkward, heartfelt and grimly humorous film. Many will likely relate to Deany’s broken heart, and her deep—if slightly misplaced—desire—to win Tom, and love, back.
Dark comedies like this one ask viewers to suspend our judgment of Deany’s awful deed—a murder that we’re not supposed to take seriously, seeing it as little more than a plot device that’s a catalyst for the main character’s growth.
And we see a lot of that here as Deany triumphs over lost love, manipulative people, and suicidal thoughts. She stands firm in her own identity and refuses to be defined again by any romantic relationship. In a beautiful moment, Deany also breaks free from the oppression of suicide that weighs heavily on her mind.
That said, however, this unrated film’s content would put it squarely in R-rated territory. Profane language, sensual innuendos, alcoholism and, of course, murder turn up here. As for the story’s suicidal undercurrents, they are strong, and they are dark as Deany grapples with the harsh reality of those impulses.
Deany Bean is Dead strives to leave viewers smiling as the credits roll. But this offbeat personal redemption story treads some dark—even murderous—paths en route to its feel-good conclusion.
Anne Ziegler studies English and music at Hillsdale College, and she’s serving this summer as an intern for Focus on the Family’s Parenting department. She enjoys living in mountainous Colorado on her summer and winter breaks when she’s not at school in the frigid Midwest. You can usually catch her baking bread or trying a new recipe she pulled from Pinterest (Mexican street tacos are a new favorite). She’ll listen to anything Classical, but she particularly fancies Rachmaninov and Chopin. Her favorite hobbies include practicing the piano, reading fantasy novels and taking walks.