After watching the trailer and reading the premise of the indie horror flick, Departing Seniors, it should’ve been right up my alley. The story follows Javier, a queer protagonist who is smart and strong, and not afraid to stand up to his bullies. However, after one of those confrontations, Javier hits his head and develops precognitive abilities like That’s so Raven.
Why would he need these? Well, there’s a killer on the loose taking out the bullies one by one. So, Javier and his BFF Bianca take it upon themselves to solve the case.
DEPARTING SENIORS IS CARRIED BY ITS EXTRAORDINARY LEADS
Departing Seniors would not work if it weren’t for its incredible leads. Ignacio Diaz-Silveiro pays Javier with such heart, charm, and conviction. He has incredible comedic timing and his chemistry with BFF Bianca played by Ireon Roach (Candyman) is palpable. Bianca is the BFF we all need in our lives. She calls Javier on his bullshit, but it’s forever his ride-or-die.
I also really enjoy that we get a new Mask. Every iconic slasher film has a villain roaming about in a mask, and I love that it’s the Drama Mask.
That said, the overall film falls incredibly flat. The ending is not a surprise, even with a couple of red herrings thrown in. It’s weird to say, but the foreshadowing and how much we know about the villain and Javier’s relationship really do a disservice to the “surprise”.
Departing Seniors falls short of delivering on the promising concept of a queer slasher that balances vulnerability and brutality. It also seems like the film didn’t actually want to be a slasher, but more so a commentary on Teen LGBTQ+ life. When in all actuality it could’ve been both.
As of February 2, 2024, you can catch Departing Seniors in select theaters and VOD!