Friday, October 1, 2021

Black As Night Review: A Diverse Vampire Hunting Squad

Release date: October 1, 2021
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Maritte Lee Go
Written by: Sherman Payne
Starring: Asjha Cooper, Fabrizio Guido, Mason Beauchamp, Abbie Gayle with Craig Tate and Keith David

A resourceful teenage girl leaves childhood behind when she battles a group of deadly vampires in Black as Night, an action-horror hybrid with a strong social conscience and a biting sense of humor. Fifteen years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, a new threat leaves its mark on the Big Easy in the form of puncture wounds on the throats of the city’s vulnerable displaced population. When her drug-addicted mom becomes the latest victim of the undead, 15-year old Shawna (Asjha Cooper) vows to even the score. Along  with three trusted friends, Shawna hatches a bold plan to infiltrate the vampire’s mansion in the historic French Quarter, destroy their leader, and turn his fanged disciples back to  their human form. But killing monsters is no easy task, and soon Shawna and her crew find themselves caught in a centuries-old conflict between warring vampire factions, each  fighting to claim New Orleans as their permanent home.

I really wanted to like Black As Night.  The setup is interesting, a horror film that has a mostly all black cast set in Louisiana.  The film has a slow build up which helps you get acquainted with the characters and this predicament, and the vampires themselves are scary. They are not super fast but are generally pretty strong and tough to kill.  The film also prominently features minority characters, including the aforementioned almost all black cast, along with a Latino and gay man, to make this film feel very different from a lot of other horror.  And the make up is well done in this film, with unsettling looking vampires that keep you on edge.  And it has this interesting animated sequence in the middle to highlight the past of a character.

However, Black As Night, despite having some really unique characters and a commitment to diversity, just doesn't bring much else to the table.  The vampires are mostly your tried and true tropes, with the standard methods of killing.  The story is slow to progress despite some exciting scenes; it was odd that this was only an 87 minute movie as it definitely felt like a lot longer.  And the film just is not that interesting; it was entertaining enough and tried to keep itself fresh, but overall the film just felt like a run of the mill vampire saga with some younger, fresh characters.  And I really loved the animated, almost comic book style sequence in the middle, but it really felt like that could have been utilized more.  I would have liked to see some animated openings and maybe a conclusion utilizing this style.  It really just felt like this was a movie that had vision that did not translate to the execution.

Black As Night brings a diverse cast to the vampire genre, but does not do enough else to differentiate it from the bloodthirsty pack.
Rent it.

If you liked this review and want to see more from Watch or Pass, please consider 
following us on our various social media platforms: FacebookTwitterInstagramYoutube
Black As Night is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

No comments:

Post a Comment