Reunion Continues the Comedy Whodunit Trend

Reunion is a murder mystery comedy that follows the recent trend of comedy whodunits, leaving the audience guessing with every clue.

I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t we just see a murder mystery at a high school reunion? Yes, the first season of Lord and Miller‘s short-lived The Afterparty on Apple TV+. The series brought such a fresh approach to the genre that it’s tough to distance the film from it. To say that there are comparisons would certainly not be an understatement. In short, Reunion has no choice but to live in The Afterparty‘s shadow despite the best efforts of everyone involved here. It’s a case of not enough time plus distance if you know what I mean. It was only two years ago when we were watching another whodunit play out during a high school reunion. Yes, there are different actors and they bring their own style to the film. In this way, the film has its own differences from the series.

Ridgeview High School’s Class of 2001 is gathering at hedge fund manager Mathew Danbury’s (Chace Crawford) mansion to celebrate their 20th reunion. You’d think that they would gather at a generic bar or something but it is what it is. Because of the snowstorm, many attendees decide to leave early. Six attendees decide to remain behind because of being too drunk. As a result, every single one is a suspect when they find Matthew’s dead body in the morning.

The suspects are:

  • Ray Hammond (Lil Rel Howery)
  • Evan West (Billy Magnussen)
  • Vivian Chase (Jillian Bell)
  • Jasmine Park (Jamie Chung)
  • Amanda Tanner (Nina Dobrev)
  • Theodore Buckley (Michael Hitchcock)

Regardless, the phone lines are down so they cannot call for help. Not even Evan, a police officer, is able to radio for help. But as we quickly determine, every person has a motive for killing Matthew. I’m certainly not going to say much more here because the beauty of watching a whodunit is seeing how everything plays out. At first you think one person is guilty but then evidence starts suggesting another person. That’s the fun of watching the genre–some filmmakers and actors have more fun than others playing in the genre. But despite the high school reunion setting, Reunion does what it can to set itself apart from other films and series within the genre. It has to compete within the genre–Knives Out, Glass Onion, Only Murders in the Building, The Afterparty, etc.–Benoit Blanc and Detective Danner are not walking through the door.

DIRECTOR: Chris Nelson
SCREENWRITERS: Willie Block & Jake Emanuel
CAST: Lil Rel Howery, Billy Magnussen, Jillian Bell, Jamie Chung, Michael Hitchcock, Dianne Doan, Cassandra Blair, with Nina Dobrev and Chace Crawford

Republic Pictures releases Reunion on Digital on June 27, 2024. Grade: 3.5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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