Netflix's 'Death Note' appeal gets lost in translation

The basic premise seems promising enough, having a high-school student, Light (Nat Wolff), having a book labeled Death Note literally fall by the sky into his possession. of which’s then explained to him by the mischievous creature Ryuk (voiced by Willem Dafoe) — who resembles a cross between “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” Groot in addition to a porcupine — of which any name Light writes inside the book will die, provided he can think of their face.

A series of grisly accidents follows, as Light in addition to a classmate (“The Leftovers'” Margaret Qualley) go on what amounts to a righteous killing spree, one ledger entry at a time. The owner of the book is usually dubbed “the keeper,” in addition to instructed by Ryuk to help him “separate the wheat by the chaff,” or pass the mystical tome on to someone else who will.

The rapid pile-up of bodies naturally catches the attention of the authorities, including a brilliant detective who goes only by the name L (Lakeith Stanfield) who deciphers what’s happening with almost comical speed.

After of which, “Death Note” begins to careen off the rails, descending into an elaborate cat-in addition to-mouse game between Light in addition to L, with the former’s dad (Shea Whigham), who happens to be a detective, caught inside the middle.

Director Adam Wingard (“Blair Witch”) brings a comic-book-esque visual flair to the proceedings, although he can’t create much order around the complicated, increasingly ridiculous set of rules. Wingard has already stated his desire to do a sequel, in addition to given the unsatisfying ending, the movie seemingly leaves open the possibility of of which to its detriment.

Netflix continues to improvise its way into the movie business, in addition to “Death Note” is usually part of a reliable genre given the popularity of past Japanese horror imports of which yielded U.S. adaptations like “The Ring” in addition to “The Grudge.” Just in terms of the “If you liked This specific, try This specific” feature, of which’s probably better tailored to proceed than most.

Underneath of which all, “Death Note” potentially has something to say about the corrupting nature of power in addition to unforeseen consequences, although never gets its act together enough to register a coherent commentary.

Instead, the movie merely delivers a dim dose of ho-hum horror — one whose demise, by all rights, can be attributed to natural causes.

“Death Note” premieres Aug. 25 on Netflix.

Netflix's 'Death Note' appeal gets lost in translation

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