Sunday, April 17, 2022

Twice as Hard, Half the Scares


Hey, hey, Horror Nuts! Welcome to another edition of WTFHM!

For those of you out there that have been enjoying the surge of sociopolitical horror in the genre, do I have a movie for you...

With a caveat, that I'll get into a little later.

Ever since Jordan Peele kicked open a door that wasn't even locked and was more than slightly ajar (because, people, horror has always had sociopolitical themes), we've seen quite a few movies come about that are focusing hard on racism, sexism, and everything else that is wrong in our society.

And frankly, I'm here for it. Look, I'm old as hell. I lived through watching yuppy teenagers get their heads blown up in a shopping mall... 

...among other things. I'm not mad at the old-school horror movies, obviously, but a girl can only watch so much mindless horror over the course of a hundred and fifty years.

For the horror movie watcher that likes to think, I bring you this week's movie:

Master starring Regina Hall, Zoe Renee, Julia Nightingale, Talia Ryder, Ella Hunt, Noa Fisher, Will Hochman, Talia Balsam, and Amber Gray

So, this movie follows two women - the new Master at a prestigious college and a young college freshman. Both of whom happen to be black.

And like most prestigious colleges, the staff and students are predominantly white.

The story follows them as they try to navigate existing in a mostly white space...

And there is a ghost haunting the college. Specifically, the room that our young college student Jasmine(Renee) is living in.

As Jasmine tries her best to fit in, she finds that she's starting to see things and sleepwalk. People that she thought were her friend aren't her friends and she's quickly becoming unraveled.

The interesting thing about this movie is that for about an hour (of the hour and a half runtime) we get a crash course in microaggressions, which, for me personally, is probably way scarier than any horror movie at times.

I mean, there are a few scenes where I was really worried for Jasmine's safety in particular. She goes to a party and is surrounded by white kids screaming a rap song that has the N-word in it...a librarian lobs no less than three "OMGYOURESUCHASMARTBLACK-GIRLTOBEATTHISCOLLEGEYOURFAMILYMUSTBESOPROOOOUUUUDDD!" type sentences and then stops her because she thinks she's stealing books...she wakes up from a nightmare where she's about to be hung by a monster only to wake up to her roommate standing over her...Walking into rooms with white kids staring at her...

Honestly...the anxiety of being black in a white space was the most terrifying thing about this movie. Master Bishop(Hall) has her share of scary shit happen to her as her house might actually be the only thing haunted on campus. But save some maggots and an encounter with a ghostly enslaved person, the actual spirits aren't the scary parts of this movie.

The racism is. Not saying that isn't valid, of course, but...

Let me just say this, first. This was a great movie. This is the kind of movie that I would show a class to discuss. I would readily do a presentation on this movie if we were discussing what it feels like to be a person of color in America...

I am hesitating to call it horror. I mean, it was horror in its construction. I saw plenty of shades of the classics like The Shining and The Haunting and about a dozen other ghostly horror movies...but you guys, I have to be real with you. I don't know that I would call this a horror movie in the conventional sense.

And I know there are a bunch of people out there that are ready to type out dissertations as to the nuances of racism in this movie and how that translates into horror, but, I don't know. Maybe I'm a basic bitch like that in that I just wanted more. Way more.

This is a movie for that friend of yours that only reads nonfiction books and is completely humorless about all things racist/sexist/whatever. Not putting them down, just saying there's a horror movie out there for everybody.

That being said, I think this movie still deserves a jewel, though. 

It was well done and I look forward to one day having collegiate-level discussions on this movie's message.

Anyway, next week! Umma, a movie I've literally been waiting for ages to watch.  See you next time!


No comments:

Post a Comment