Review: THE DEATH OF DICK LONG Is A One-Note Dark Comedy


Some interesting visions are in play in The Death of Dick Long, but the script is simply too unsatisfying for the film to land.
Technical Merit

The Death of Dick Long, the sophomore feature from director Daniel Schienert (one half of the duo behind Swiss Army Man), is a bizarre new dark comedy based on a single gag so weird that it’s hard to believe. However, in an attempt to go darker, Schienert loses the infectious charm that made his first film so successful and instead delivers a disappointing exercise in shock value.

The story follows two men in a rural small town whose best friend died the night before as they attempt to cover up their involvement. The first half of the movie is a pretty compelling mystery as the audience is left without information known by the characters and is watching them as they fumble around trying to cover it up. However, once that reveal is eventually made, there is little left to enjoy.

Much of the intrigue of the film comes from trying to figure out what happened to the eponymous character. A majority of the movie’s most compelling moments come in the first half as bits of information are slowly revealed to the audience, letting viewers a little bit more access into the story. Ultimately, the final reveal is simply made too soon, as the film doesn’t seem to know what to do with the remainder of its runtime.

For the first half of the movie, the humor is mostly of the lowbrow type, leaving the audience laughing at the two leads as they are trying to cover-up what happened with limited success. Then, just about when this style starts to feel old, the film attempts to make a drastic tonal shift, and here is where it falls apart. The initial shock value will elicit a few uneasy laughs, but soon after, viewers will be left counting the seconds until the movie ends.

death of dick long gasp

Part of the reason why the film doesn’t work quite as well as intended is that the character development is lackluster. To a certain extent, the audience will sympathize with the leads as lovable goofs, but especially once the reveal is made, their actions aren’t particularly likable or compelling. It is difficult to pull off a movie with such flawed characters, and writer Billy Chew didn’t quite hit the mark.

That said, the actors give committed performances that help make the film become slightly more enjoyable. Leads Michael Abbott Jr. and Andre Hyland have very good chemistry together and make a great comedic duo. Some of the movie’s highlights are the scenes in which they just get to bounce lines off of each other. The supporting cast is also strong, with solid turns from Sarah Baker, Jess Weixler, and Sunita Mani.

Schienert’s visual style also helps elevate the film. The cinematography is surprisingly good, emphasizing the old-school and rural feel of the movie. The use of music is also very interesting, the soundtrack being comprised of unique picks which one would not normally expect from a film like this.

Unfortunately, a weak script holds The Death of Dick Long back from reaching its potential as a dark comedy. The talent is there behind and in front of the camera, but without solid material to work with, the whole experience feels like a wash.

The Death of Dick Long is now available on VOD.


All Kinds Of Free | The CW

Stream your favorite CW shows free only on The CW App! SUBSCRIBE: About The CW: Official YouTube Channel for The CW Network featuring the hit series Riverdale, as well as Black Lightning, The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Supernatural, The 100, Dynasty, In the Dark, and Roswell, New Mexico. Connect with The…

Arrow | Season 8 Episode 9 | Do It For Oliver Scene | The CW

Stream new episodes of Arrow Wednesdays, free only on The CW App: SUBSCRIBE: About ARROW: After a violent shipwreck, billionaire playboy Oliver Queen was missing and presumed dead for five years before being discovered alive on a remote island in the South China Sea. Oliver returned home to Starling City, bent on righting…

Star Trek: Picard – What Really Happened On Mars?

Learn more about Jean-Luc Picard's falling out with Starfleet—which was sparked by the Romulan crisis on Mars—and how it ultimately impacted his relationship with the Federation. Stream all-new episodes of Star Trek: Picard on Thursdays, exclusively in the U.S. on CBS All Access. Stream all-new episodes of "Star Trek: Picard" on Thursdays, exclusively in the…

Double Features on Prime Video

These actors are so nice we cast them twice. » SUBSCRIBE: About Prime Video: Want to watch it now? We've got it. This week's newest movies, last night's TV shows, classic favorites, and more are available to stream instantly, plus all your videos are stored in Your Video Library. Over 150,000 movies and TV…

Tyler Perry on What Inspired Him To Make A Fall From Grace | Netflix

Writer and director Tyler Perry shares what inspired him to make A Fall From Grace, his new thriller starring Crystal Fox. Watch A Fall From Grace, Only on Netflix: SUBSCRIBE: About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series,…

Dynasty | Season 3 Episode 11 | Wound That May Never Heal Promo | The CW

Stream new episodes of Dynasty Saturdays, free only on The CW App: SUBSCRIBE: About DYNASTY: Fallon Carrington is charismatic, cunning, and poised to become the new COO of her father’s global energy empire – or so she thinks. When her father, Blake Carrington, summons Fallon and her brother, Steven, home in Atlanta, Fallon…

The Undoing | Official Teaser | HBO

The limited series The Undoing, premiering this May, stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as Grace and Jonathan Fraser, who are living the only lives they ever wanted for themselves. Overnight a chasm opens in their lives: a violent death and a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and…
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here