‘Darby And The Dead’ Ending, Explained: Does Darby Reveal Her Secret To Her School Friends?

It is always interesting to watch new forms and themes of the supernatural being explored by filmmakers and storytellers. With the holiday season at its peak, watching a brand-new addition to this genre and a thankfully watchable film is just the thing. “Darby and the Dead” is a supernatural comedy that draws attention to a young teen in her high school who has a special skill that no one knows of. How she maneuvers her way through life in school without anyone knowing her secret is what the film is all about. Directed by Silas Howard, “Darby and the Dead” follows a bunch of teenagers that come together as they go through a phase of teenage angst makes the film whole.


Spoilers Ahead

‘Darby And The Dead’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

Darby’s mother growing up, was a popular girl in the same school Darby attended. As she marries the love of her life, Darby’s dad, they decide to start a lovely family in the same town they grew up in. As soon as Darby is born, the mother and daughter are inseparable. Darby joins the same school her mother was in, and just like her mother, she is drawn towards cheerleading too. Darby’s mother was a popular girl in her school and the head of the cheerleading team. Unfortunately, a visit to the beach turns tragic as Darby and her mother are hit by violent waves and accidentally drown. Darby is rescued from the sea, but sadly, her mother cannot be rescued. Darby had technically died for a few seconds before she came back to life. But her coming back to life comes with an additional power she did not expect. She starts seeing dead people around her, approaching her, and talking to her. Initially freaked out by seeing people around who aren’t alive, she slowly starts accepting them as part of the new power she has acquired. Darby also starts realizing that all these people need a way to convey a message to family and loved ones as a way of bringing closure so that they can move on. Darby becomes a messenger for them to help them move on to the other side of the afterlife peacefully. Darby calls it her way of doing grief counseling without asking for any money for it. Darby frequently does these so-called “therapy sessions,” which she starts enjoying more than talking to real, live people, which includes her classmates from school. Darby becomes aloof from her classmates in this way, and her father is concerned about her behavior. Darby makes sure no one knows of this power she has, or she will be branded a freak by her school. Darby always felt alone without her mother, and this power helped her hang out with people who weren’t alive, making her feel she had a purpose in life and that she does not feel alone the way she felt in school. Darby is invisible to her school and class, and she is glad no one notices her, which means she can spend more time attending to dead people who need her help than spending time on people who don’t try to befriend her or try to get to know her.


Darby’s classmate, Capri in school, is the most popular girl in the class and is dating the most popular guy in the school. She is mean to many girls around her. Capri is a part of the cheerleading team as well and makes sure Darby is systematically ostracized. Capri and Darby used to be good friends a long time ago, but since her mother’s death, Capri has stayed away from Darby, thinking she has become completely weird. Capri made her group rule the school using her words and actions, which was borderline bullying. Darby is put in charge of taking the new kid in her class, Alex, to show him around the campus. Darby is initially skeptical about taking up the job, but she is unable to get out of the situation. After hanging out with Alex, she realizes he is not that bad of a person. Darby is also friends with the school janitor, Gary, who passed away but is staying back so that he and his aging wife can leave this world together. Darby meets him behind the school grounds almost every day, and he is the friend she looks forward to talking to regularly after an excruciating day at school. Gary talks to her, understand her, and advise her on how to be. One day after gym class, as the girls are changing in the locker room, Darby and Capri have a small argument about Capri bullying Darby. Capri is holding a curling iron that is plugged in. She accidentally falls into a small water pit in the washroom, and the curling iron touches the water, electrocuting Capri on the spot. Capri dies in this incident, which sends a shockwave around the school because of the popularity Capri holds. Darby feels numb, for she never expected to see her friend-turned-nemesis die so suddenly in front of her. Capri never accepted Darby for who she was, and she was never there for her when Darby’s mother passed. Capri eventually became a narcissistic person who only cared about herself and no one else. Since Capri was dating James, she did care about him to some extent.

‘Darby And The Dead’ Ending Explained – Does Darby Reveal Her Secret To Her School Friends?

Darby least expected Capri to come back to her and start speaking to her. One night, a dead Capri reaches Darby’s room to understand whether whatever rumors she has heard about her classmate are true. The fact that Darby can see, hear, and talk brings relief to Capri, who is still acting like a queen, forgetting the fact that she died a few days ago. Capri is excited over the fact that someone can see her and talk to her and expects Darby to be her puppet, as Capri has plenty of wishes to fulfill before she moves on to the other side. Darby is not interested in helping her because Capri is always mean to Darby, to the point where she ridicules Darby on many occasions. Darby, though, feels she has a responsibility towards people who have died and the deed they want to finish before they move on. She reluctantly decides to help Capri. Capri, in return, will help Darby change her wardrobe and make her a popular student in the class. As Capri starts guiding her on the path to becoming the most talked about girl in the school, Darby starts putting out the idea of celebrating Capri by holding a sweet seventeen party in her memory. Capri’s friends agree with Darby, and Darby finally finds the validation she is looking for. Darby changes her wardrobe thanks to Capri and slowly becomes the most popular girl in the school, replacing Capri rather quickly. Darby also joins the cheerleading team as a cheerleader and excels in it, thanks to Capri’s constant support. Capri, in a way, becomes Darby’s best friend, and Darby starts loving the attention she is gaining from all the popularity. She becomes more confident and snootier and takes charge of things she never did in the past. Capri’s old friends start idolizing her, and all of them plan to perfect a sweet seventeen party for Capri in her memory.


Darby starts ignoring her other dead clients for her new friends, which Capri and her other clients do not appreciate. Capri points out that they will leave her the second she falls from grace. Darby ignores her advice and starts avoiding Alex as well, who is a school mascot donut. Alex had shown interest in Darby initially, and she reciprocated, only to be stopped by Capri, who said dating Alex would mean the end of her popularity. Darby is a teenager, and during this phase of her life, even she is confused about which path to take. She admittedly likes all the attention, which she loathed previously. Meanwhile, James starts hanging out with Darby and asks her to be with him when he decides to head back to school for the first time after Capri’s passing. James starts liking Darby, but Darby is confused, and she does not want to upset Capri. Capri genuinely loved James, but she wouldn’t want James to date any of her friends. James starts to cling to Darby in school, and she is unable to avoid him. The school starts looking down on Darby for dating James right after Capri’s death. Darby denies dating him, but Capri finds out James loves to hang out with her. Capri gets angry and starts spooking Darby and James, then decides to sabotage her own sweet seventeen parties, which Darby helped organize. Darby and James, though, decide not to date one another, for it is too soon. But James keeps complaining about Capri’s friends gaining popularity using Capri’s name, which disgusts him. Darby is in no position to tell him it was her idea, for she does not want to stop talking to James. As they reach the party, Capri starts spooking the entire event and forces Darby to reveal her secret. Darby comes out as the person who can see dead people, and she can also see, hear, and speak to Capri at that moment. James is taken aback by this revelation. Darby feels relieved to have told the world about her long-kept secret, and her mind feels lighter. Darby is also relieved to know people forgot about her truth the very next day, and she can now live her life normally. Darby has let down plenty of dead people since her transformation and apologizes to them for ignoring her responsibility towards them. Capri also feels guilty about changing Darby, and she apologizes to Darby for that. Capri now feels her work on earth is done, and she can finally move on as promised to Darby. Capri goes away without letting Darby meet her mother. Darby always felt the pain of the fact that her mother never visited, which made her wonder if her mother had moved on. But thankfully, she meets Darby one last time and conveys that she never moved on all this time because she wanted to protect her daughter and see her grow up to be a smart individual. Darby is thankful to Capri for this. Darby finally watches Capri, and her mother moves on, as they are content with what they have achieved so far. Alex finally reveals even he can see dead people, for he was in a coma for a long time after a heinous accident. Darby finally feels a connection with him, and they decide to go on a date together. Alex and Darby start working together, too, as she restarts counseling the dead and helps them move on.

Darby, though she deviates from being herself for a short time, realizes she needs to go back to being herself so that people can love her for who she is and not see her as a cut-out Barbie doll. Darby learns her lesson and realizes Capri was not such a bad person after her death, so she allows her to hang around Darby. The fact that Darby helped Capri with plenty of things she wanted to fulfill would mean that Darby forgave Capri. Capri was indeed a brat, but she also understood her bad qualities. Too late, for she was dead by the time she realized her shortcomings.


Final Thoughts

There is nothing to be taken seriously about “Darby and the Dead” because it is a fun watch about supernatural powers that a teenager possesses and makes good use of. The screenplay and story are unique, but they are simple at the same time. There is no need to indulge and dissect this film, for there is no complexity attached to it. It is a simple teenage drama that stays true to its genre till the end without any unnecessary subplots. As an audience member, the only issue I had was speaking to the camera and breaking the fourth wall, which is again used by directors whenever the protagonist is a woman and supposedly funny and self-aware. A done-and-dusted method that worked well only for “Fleabag.” Writers and directors should say goodbye to this technique of conveying a narrative or story. It is repetitive and not interesting anymore. “Darby and the Dead” is an easy, breezy watch.

“Darby and the Dead” is running at theaters near you.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

Latest articles