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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield


Dir. Mariama Diallo

Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield

Mariama Diallo's feature debut is a mesmerising, if slightly underwhelming break into the horror genre with social context that hasn't been matched since GET OUT. Like Jordan Peele's now classic horror reflects a society change from hatred to tokenism that is more dangerous to the black community and respect that it stilts progress. Racism is still racism no matter how it is perceived and that is the point that MASTER really tries to bring home successfully against a backdrop of supernatural occurrences.

Regina Hall (seen here in a much more straight laced position than many will remember her for) shares visions with another student as the university board look to enrol new candidates. These visions hark to a common ground that they are relative to those of colour and the pair search to uncover why these anxiety laden dreams feel so real.

Between Hall and Zoe Renee there's some tense progress to bring the film to it's conclusion which is both a stark reality check and subtle reflection on ignorance and the self preservation of racism that exists in the elite.

Unfortunately for MASTER, while it's message is one to be heard, the horror in MASTER is rather lacking and on that count it lacks what films like GET OUT, CANDYMAN and even BLACK CHRISTMAS [2019] bought to the genre and subsequently falls short of being much more than a college drama that through a great central performance, leaves you feeling somewhat underwhelming and disappointed that this could have been so much more.

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