Death Note is an American supernatural horror-thriller film directed by Adam Wingard, based on the manga series of the same name by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. The film stars Nat Wolff, Margaret Qualley, Keith Stanfield, Paul Nakauchi, Shea Whigham and Willem Dafoe. The film was released on Netflix on August 25, 2017.
In Seattle, Light Turner, while doing other high school students' homework in exchange for money, encounters a notebook marked "Death Note" as it falls from the sky next to him, alongside the rain. Placing the book in his bag, he attempts to stop Kenny, an oft-held-back student, from assaulting Mia Sutton, getting knocked out in the process. Upon waking, Light is sent to detention for doing other students' homework, their papers having been knocked from his bag. In detention, while the supervisor leaves on an errand, Light encounters the death god Ryuk after reading some of the Death Note's rules, leaving him in a state of terror. Believing himself to be dreaming, Light absentmindedly puts Kenny's name into the Death Note after Ryuk pressures him to. Requesting he write a cause of death, Light writes "decapitation". Looking out the window, Light witnesses Kenny's death, shocking him.
At home, Light, after a conversation with his father about justice, and upon learning of the rules of the Death Note from Ryuk, writes the name of the man who ran down his mother in the Death Note, who had gone unprosecuted due to his criminal connections. Elsewhere, the man is killed after falling upon his steak knife at a restaurant. The following morning, Light's father receives news of this. Despite previous comments regarding the matter, he is glad of the man's death.
The following day, in the gym, Mia approaches Light, asking him what the book (Death Note) he's holding is. Light brings Mia to the school library and tells her about Ryuk and the Death Note, demonstrating its power on a man holding his family hostage nearby. The two read through the Death Note, noting that previous users had used it for either profit or personal revenge. Mia and Light decide to kill criminals worldwide to improve society under the guise of a "god", which Light decides to name Kira, being Russian for light, as well as Japanese for "Killer". Upon having their first victims, the contents of the "Top 10 World's Most Wanted" list, sign "Kira" in perfect Japanese on their walls, Mia and Light leave the world believing Kira to be Japanese.
As the year passes, Kira becomes loved by the public and the majority of law enforcement officials. Mia and Light become lovers. In Japan, the enigmatic detective known only as "L" successfully deduced that Kira is a citizen of Seattle, having leaked information about obscure Japanese criminals to the Seattle Police Department, and having identified the third person killed by Light with the Death Note as having been killed by Kira. L, alongside his assistant/father figure Watari, travel to Seattle.
Nat Wolff as Light Turner / Kira: A high-school student who discovers the titular "Death Note" and uses it to kill criminals by writing their names and causes of death, and thus becoming a world-famous serial killer, praised by law enforcement.
Margaret Qualley as Mia Sutton / Kira: Light's classmate and love interest, who becomes an ally in his mission to rid the world of criminals, eventually seeking to kill those who seek to stop them. Sutton's character is a composite of Misa Amane, Kiyomi Takada and the sociopathic side of Light Yagami from the original manga.
Keith Stanfield as L: A highly intelligent and skilled detective who is determined to capture Kira and end his reign.
Paul Nakauchi as Watari: L's assistant.
Shea Whigham as James Turner: Light's father and a police officer who aids L in bringing down the mysterious Kira, unaware that he is Light.
Willem Dafoe as the voice of Ryuk: A demonic god of death and the creator of the Death Note, who begins communicating with Light when he receives the book and warns him about its repercussions.