DEPARTING SENIORS is a new horror-comedy with a diverse cast including queer characters. It has a truly charming cast while also delivering a good plot. Read our full Departing Seniors movie review here!

DEPARTING SENIORS is a horror-comedy that delivers on being a solid genre film while also having a few twists. The characters are diverse in a very natural and organic way, which is always the best.

The lead character is a Mexica-American queer high school student and he’s wonderful. An outsider, but neither lonely nor weird as he does have friends. Now, I already know there will be people crying “woke”, but they can just watch whatever generic formula movie coming out. The rest of us can enjoy this one.

Continue reading our Departing Seniors movie review below. Find it in theaters and on demand on February 2, 2024.

From near-death to psychic powers

In Departing Seniors, we meet the queer and Mexican-American high school student Javier (Primo‘s Ignacio Diaz-Silverio). He doesn’t exactly fit in with his small frame and not being straight and white. The popular kids in his High School are jocks and all very straight and white.

Well, officially, anyway.

As it turns out, the high school seniors are in danger as a serial killer is picking them off one by one. Always making it look like a suicide, which brings even more tragedy to the close friends of the victims. They start blaming themselves. In more than one case, you can easily understand why!

After a particularly violent act of bullying, Javier ends up in the hospital. When he wakes up, he starts having visions that seem to let him see glimpses of shocking murders at his school right before they happen. Javier and his best friend Bianca (Candyman‘s Ireon Roach) join forces to unmask the serial killer before the next murder.

Departing Seniors (2023) – Review | Queer Horror-Comedy

Going beyond the straight-white narrative

I know it might seem like I’m going on and on about diversity and representation. However, when you realize that movies are grotesquely down-rated on IMDb simply because of diversity and representation, there must be something in the way of counterbalance.

These days, most people will know someone who’s queer or (at the very least) not simply “White and Christian”. Well, except for people who live in areas where this is the default – until those who are queer manage to escape to the nearest big city to be themselves.

My point is simply that the world is not full of people that are White and Christian. And not every hero is a straight male. That’s why I applaud when we get a movie like Departing Seniors. One where the hero of the story is a rather scrawny-looking young man, who is neither straight nor white. He is Mexican-American and Queer.

And does it matter in the story? Well, yes. Because – just like in real life – others are always busy reminding him that he is different. However, Javier already knows and accepts this about himself, making it his superpower. Also, it’s kryptonite to those who want to hurt him.

As Departing Seniors opens with a bullying incident that leads to Javier nearly dying, it is extremely important for both the character and plot.

Watch Departing Seniors in theaters and on VOD

Clare Cooney is the director of Departing Seniors which was written by Jose Nateras. It’s a feature debut for Clare Cooney and a damn good one. As high school horror movies go, it delivers everything you’d expect. The comedy aspect is often dark, but also works in expected and familiar ways that offer “safety”. And then someone new is murdered, of course.

Together, Clare Cooney and Jose Nateras have managed to create a movie that puts a spin on the coming-of-age cult classics. A masked serial killer in a high school is hardly anything new. But having these characters in the lead most certainly is new, long overdue, and very necessary!

Overall, there are many reasons why you should watch Departing Seniors. The main one though, is simply that this is a solid horror-comedy. Yes, even if you can guess who the killer is. Also, with a runtime of 1 hour and 25 minutes, it hits that perfect sweet spot for a genre movie.

On a more personal note, I also loved the diversity in characters and storyline. Having Ignacio Diaz-Silverio (A Good Person) in the lead role is simply perfect. He carries this movie in all the right ways – especially in scenes with Ireon Roach. Enjoy!

Departing Seniors is out in theaters and on demand from February 2, 2024.


Director: Clare Cooney
Writer: Jose Nateras
Stars: Ignacio Diaz-Silverio, Yani Gellman, Ireon Roach, Cameron Scott Roberts, Maisie Merlock, Ryan Foreman, Sasha Kuznetsov


When an act of bullying sends a witty, gay, Mexican-American, high school senior to the hospital, he wakes up having psychic visions that reveal the horrifying truth behind a rash of supposed suicides at his school, leaving it up to him and his sarcastic best friend to unmask a serial killer who’s targeting Departing Seniors, before it’s too late.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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