Netflix’s ‘Death Note’ is way off pitch


Hope Kleppe

This week I decided to take a break from my five week long “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” binge watching streak and check out some new Netflix originals. As I scrolled past the recommended section–consisting primarily of documentaries on cults–a title stood out to me. “Death Note” a new Netflix original movie based on the popular Japanese manga series.

I would first like to preface that I am not a follower of manga comics and went into watching the movie without any prior knowledge of the original “Death Note” series. But if you are a big fan of movies with demons of death and tolerable gore, you should stick around. If this doesn’t already sound like your cup of tea, then you might want to go back to your corner and re-watch Gossip Girl for the 100th time. However, if you are like me and want to test the waters with new Netflix content, I highly recommend going with a Netflix original series over its movies; because this movie was an absolute train wreck.

Let’s start with the casting decisions. The only person in this movie that was semi relevant was Nat Wolff who played Light Turner, the protagonist of the story. The last time I remember Nat Wolff being taken seriously was his breakout performance in The Naked Brothers Band. You would think a child star of such high caliber would know how to handle the role of a high school teen who gets a hold of a book that magically kills anyone whose name is written in it, but I’m going to cut Nat some slack because how does one work with a script that begins the movie with a literal book falling from the sky with the words “Death Note” written on the cover? This is the point where I should have closed my laptop and saved myself the two hours I will never get back. If you couldn’t already tell, picking up a mysterious book that falls from the sky is probably going to cause some crazy shit to happen. For example, a giant spikey demon from hell named Ryuk tells you “The name and the face is all you have to have,” in order to kill anyone you want. On top of all that, Ryuk is voiced Willem Dafoe who himself looks like a demon from hell and also has not been relevant since playing the Green Goblin in 2007.

However, this does not compare to the complete disregard for plot and character development. It almost feels like this movie is trying to rush you in and rush you out as quickly as possible so you don’t have time to stop and think about how utterly pointless the entirety of the movie actually was. Overall, the guts and gore is probably the only thing this movie ever had going for itself along with making irrelevant actors come back into the spotlight.


Photo courtesy of