We’re All Gonna Die Review – A Golden Spike

If you were on the Internet in the late 2000s/early 2010s, you’ve likely run into Freddie Wong before. Past his own wildly popular YouTube channel back in the day, Wong is the architect of Rocket Jump’s acclaimed short films, the TV Shows Video Game High School and Anime Crimes Division, the comedy writing podcast Story Break, and most notably the hit Dungeons & Dragons comedy podcast Dungeons & Daddies.

I had the opportunity to view the upcoming film last week, when Freddie Wong and co-director Matt Arnold brought We’re All Gonna Die on tour to Atlanta alongside a directors’ Q&A.  The pair have independently written, directed and produced the group’s first feature length movie in We’re All Gonna Die, and I am happy to say it is just as hilarious, heart-wrenching, and passionate as the rest of their work.

In the near future world of We’re All Gonna Die, an enormous alien Spike appears from the sky with no explanation. It destroys everything it touches, and then appears somewhere else on Earth seemingly at random. Soon, this is the new normal. Everyone on Earth must reach the understanding that the Spike can and will randomly appear and kill them with no warning and for no reason. And so, the world settles into a gentle, slow degradation of society, and goes out with a whimper – not a bang. We are all gonna die.

Twelve years later, our story follows Thalia, played by the incredible Ashly Burch (Mythic Quest, Horizon Zero Dawn). Thalia is a beekeeper in her mid-30s, a widow who lost her husband and daughter in a car accident years before. With her semi-post-apocalyptic honey business on its last legs, she runs her car into a depressed EMT named Kai, portrayed by Jason Rodrigues (Ladybird). Kai’s life has fallen apart, as just days ago his best friend in the world committed suicide unexpectedly, leaving behind the car for Kai. The two barely have time to meet before the Spike unceremoniously teleports away both Thalia’s entire collection of bees off the back of her truck and Kai’s car. A single clue points to Washington state and you guessed what that means – road trip! And maybe a little romance?

This quiet road trip comedy is marked by some significant qualities I don’t see in movies often. Despite being set in a very specifically sci-fi setting, the Spike doesn’t do all that much after the initial conflict. It sort of floats unceremoniously in the background of shots, and people go about living their lives, just with a little less zeal than they used to. We also never learn what the Spike is, and according to Wong and Arnold that’s very intentional – it doesn’t matter what it is. Sometimes things happen that destroy our lives, and it does not matter why they happen; it only matters how we respond.

We’re All Gonna Die is certainly a comedy, and I laughed out loud at least two dozen times during the screening. But if I had to describe what it’s about in one word, that word is grief. I think what I appreciate most about the story is that Kai’s loss is from unexpected suicide, from his best friend that was constantly cracking jokes and appeared to be the happiest man on earth. Thalia’s loss is of her five year old daughter and husband in a regular old car accident. Both of these incidents are completely unrelated to the Spike and the slow death of civilization in this world, and I think that’s why they hit me so hard.

All of us have lost people unexpectedly for reasons that feel, frankly, stupid. There is no reason that my friend in high school was killed by a truck skidding off the road during a storm. There’s no reason that a friend from my comedy group in college, one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met, hanged himself. The universe doesn’t do things to us with intention – things just happen. Finding the strength to keep doing things every day, knowing that things just happen, is the hardest thing in the world. But we do it. We have to.

I won’t end this review of this comedy road trip movie on a somber note, however. Burch and Rodrigues have amazing chemistry on screen, and both deliver wonderful performances, carrying a lot of weight in a film largely devoid of other characters. We’re All Gonna Die is full of heart, happiness, love, and empathy. It is driven by determination to hold on to what you have left and the strength to let go of what you have lost. It’s a lot of laughs, a few well-earned tears, and just a splash of existential questioning. It is also unbelievably strange. In other words, exactly what you’d expect when you hear the folks behind Dungeons & Daddies have made a movie.

I recommend We’re All Gonna Die to everyone looking for a good laugh, a good cry, or both.

Nirav Gandhi
Nirav is a 30 year-old living in an unlicensed, extended Nintendo commercial. He considers Avatar: The Last Airbender to be the absolute apex of media. He's best known for his unsolicited Scooby-Doo trivia and rants about lore inconsistencies in the Fantastic Beasts movies.

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