BLACK AS NIGHT (REVIEW)
Dir. Maritte Lee Go
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
BLACK AS NIGHT is a vampire movie set in New Orleans, together with plenty of references to BLADE and a new heroine vampire slayer. While there's nothing new here, the story of a slave killing his owner and reaping power through vampirism has a respectable storyline that gives empathy to Keith David's villain. What BLACK PANTHER did for superhero movies, BLACK AS NIGHT does for vampire films and isn't afraid to draw blood.
The film isn't anything new or highly original for the genre however, the emphasis here is for a story of colour and one that is done well. The vampire genre has faired well from black stories with BLADE, QUEEN OF THE DAMNED and VAMPIRES VS THE BRONX being some of the biggest in the genre and there audience far transcends their target in all it's glory. BLACK AS NIGHT proves once again that colour isn't a barrier as its effectively written battle between good and evil (the purest of vampire stories) can still have bite.
Asjha Cooper is fantastic as a naïve if also reclusive teen who comes across an incident one night. Not only is she not believed but she is roped into defending her neighbourhood taking her firmly out of her comfort zone. While she grows to the challenge, her character and decisions are all reflective of the person she is and as such everything feels authentic. There's blood, and plenty of it but the real show stealer is horror fiend, Keith David. He brings a sinister urge to his villainous centuries old vampire Babineaux who was persecuted and forever seeks vengeance for the wrongness done to him and the black community.
There's an audience of people who will see this as political commentary but isn't that what the genre and film-making is for, food for thought. While David's Babineaux is to horror what Michal B. Jordan's Killmonger is the the MCU, a side of the coin with a darker path but one born of rage and fire but not necassirily evil until ignored and vilified by others. Instead of understanding and relinquishing a past full of horrors, ignorance and victim blaming are often more evil ways of moving on and let the anger of others fester until they are irreparable. BLACK AS NIGHT will piss off some audineces, and for those upset, BLACK AS NIGHT is a big fuck you and we join in, not to commend villainy, but to understand it.
Maritte Lee Go has proven she knows how to handle horror, and we can't wait to see what she brings to the table next as hers is a voice that needs to be turned up.