“Death to 2020” fails to rise to expectations


Photo used with permission from Google Creative Commons

The mockumentary was released by Netflix to take a look back at this past year.

2020 was a year that will go down in history. Between the pandemic and election, it was nothing short of horrendous and stressful. The new Netflix original film Death to 2020 attempts to take a comedic approach to the atrocious year. 

From the mind of Black Mirror creator Charlie Booker, Death to 2020 garnered a 37% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.9 out of 10 on IMDB after its release on Dec. 27. “Death to 2020 is ultimately just more of the same painfully humorless noise that’s made up most of the year,” Vox critic Aja Romano said. 

With the film’s concept being created by Booker, fans expected it to be dark, morbid and lacking any lighthearted moments. However, Booker chose to take the movie in a different direction from his previous works. “If I’d been writing the Black Mirror version of a pandemic unfolding across the planet, it would’ve been incredibly violent, and society would have collapsed into dust,” Booker said. 

If I had not lived through 2020, I would have assumed the film was pure fiction. The mockumentary begins on the first of the year and moves through each significant event, such as the Australian wildfires in February and the Coronavirus outbreak. The progression comes with playful commentary from actors and actresses playing Queen Elizabeth II, a millennial, a historian and a few others. 

The movie ends with the characters looking forward to the uncertainty of COVID-19 while addressing the question of what has 2020 taught. 

Not only does the film cover the perspective of the United States during the year, but it also utilizes characters from the United Kingdom to add variation. The film includes reactions to the United Kingdom leaving the United Nations and jabs at the UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson and his handling of the pandemic. 

Although the film comes with a star-studded cast, including Samuel L. Jackson and Stranger Things fan favorite Joe Keery, the flick did not live up to its potential. It capitalized off the jokes that have been spreading around social media apps like TikTok, making it, at times, extremely predictable and dull. 

In addition to the let-down in humor, the movie failed to acknowledge that for many Americans and others, 2020 brought the loss of a family member, something they don’t want to relive or listen to people joke about. 

Despite its shortcomings, the movie did come with humorous moments, including the extensive commentary on the 2020 election and the candidates running for office. The film took light-hearted jabs at President Joe Biden’s age and former President Donald Trump’s classic orange hue. 

Overall, I would only recommend this movie in specific scenarios. If one is looking to relive the horror that was 2020, I suggest turning to the news. If one is looking for a light-hearted movie that may disappoint but will kill an hour off the clock, I recommend Death to 2020.