The Afterparty Review: Tiffany Haddish and Sam Richardson shine in this comic take on the murder mystery genre
Chris Miller's new show is a delightful, genre-hopping ride that redefines storytelling in the murder mystery genre with a stellar cast. Read Pinkvilla's review below.
The Afterparty Cast: Sam Richardson, Ben Schwartz, Tiffany Haddish
The Afterparty Creator: Chris Miller
Streaming Platform: AppleTV+
The Afterparty Stars: 3.5/5
Murder mysteries seem to have become the new genre that filmmakers and screenwriters want to experiment with more in recent times and shows such as The Afterparty, Only Murders in the Building are proof of that. While it may have seemed earlier that the genre may be replete with cliched ideas, it seems to be changing for the good now as we are getting to watch more creative takes on the same in both film and TV. AppleTV+'s new show, The Afterparty is the latest addition to the whodunnit genre that seems to have managed to turn an Agatha Christie-style of plot into an absolute comical ride.
One of the best things about The Afterparty also happens to be its cast which consists of comedy geniuses including Tiffany Haddish, Sam Richardson, Ben Schwartz, Ike Barinholtz among others. This murder mystery parody of sorts keeps invested mainly because the likes of Haddish, Richardson bring their absolute A-game in making their characters intriguing as we follow them on a genre-hopping ride that play with the idea of perspectives.
In The Afterparty, Detective Danner (Tiffany Haddish) is dealing with a murder mystery involving a pop sensation Xavier(Dave Franco), who ends up dead on the night of his high school reunion after-party leaving his classmates as the suspects for his murder. Detective Danner then gives each suspect a chance to recount their version of the story or as she puts it, she wants to hear their "mind-movie." The suspects include former nerd and now Escape Room experience designer Aniq (Sam Richardson), his high-school crush Zoë (Zoë Chao) who is now an artist. Aniq's school rival Brett (Ike Barinholtz), the former class president, Chelsea (Ilana Glazer) and the ever-positive and charming, Yasper (Ben Schwartz).
The series takes us through eight episodes where every character is the hero of their story and hence the story is told through genres that fit their perspectives. While Richardson's Aniq gets to tell his story about not being the murderer through the rom-com genre as he focusses on him attending the reunion for his high-school crush Zoe, his rival, Brett (Barinholtz) gets into an action mode that's Fast and Furious style to recount the happenings of the night that Xavier died. With every character, the plot thickens and much like Detective Danner, you will also be tempted to open up a pack of popcorn to enjoy this fun storytelling.
While the series consists of eight episodes, the first three episodes of the show will be premiered together with the rest of them to be released weekly on the streaming platform. Created by Chris Miller and his longtime writing partner Phil Lord, The Afterparty is breath of fresh air when it comes to streaming shows. It's been a while since we enjoyed something that is so creatively deft. The makers play on unexpected elements and just when you think they won't be able to top the next episode, they always do and I'm going to warn you how difficult it is going to be to pick your favourite episode from the show. From La La Land inspired musical episode to a whole thirty minutes of animated storytelling, The Afterparty offers delightfully new takes on the murder mystery at hand with its genre-hopping storytelling and it works best because of its cast.
Who knew one could use the Rashomon effect with such brilliance. The thing with murder mysteries is that they often put the viewer in the detective's seat as well and with The Afterparty, it's fun to find yourself falling prey to storytelling tactics of each suspect as they try to misdirect you by trying to make you forget that it's a whodunnit story after all. The small clues keep appearing though as each suspect retells the incidents of the night that killed Xavier (a character that you're probably most happy to be the one that has been killed off.)
As for the performances, there's no doubt that it's Sam Richardson who takes the cake with his absolutely amazing interpretations of Aniq in every suspect's storyline. Richardson is at the top of his game in every scene. Another performance that surely will bring a smile to your face is that of Ben Schwartz as he brings a fun musical episode to the show. Haddish and Chao are also the ones to watch out for as they bring some good laughs with their characters. As for Dave Franco, while the actor's Xavier keeps popping up in scenes here and there, his playful act does prove that he's the perfect choice for the role of a dork-turned-superstar.
Apart from the performances though, much of the credit also goes to director Chris Miller who helms all the episodes showcasing his perfect understanding of the key elements that every genre requires as he moves from a musical episode to an animated one with smooth transitions that never leave the viewer lost. Miller makes sure to force you to ascertain your understanding of people and the power of narrative, especially how it can be harmful when it is misinterpreted or incomplete.
The Afterparty should be on your watchlist if you want to sit back and enjoy top-notch performances from a cast that can make you laugh and cry, all in a second. This murder mystery parody is a perfect celebration of the genre and also serves as a great critique of it at the same time. If you're looking for a fun weekend binge, let this be your pick.