Black as Night
Shawna’s (Asjha Cooper) summer plans are thrown into chaos when she’s attacked by a group of vampires while walking home from a party alone. Instead of pining as usual after the dashing Chris (Mason Beauchamp), she finds herself fighting back with him against a vampire army, who’ve began to prey upon the down-and-out population of New Orleans, alongside her best friend (Fabrizio Guido).
Black as Night (which joins Bingo Hell in launching the second half of Amazon and Blumhouse’s Welcome to the Blumhouse anthology) doesn’t try to reinvent the vampire playbook. Though it takes some creative liberties with the mythos to keep some things fresh, it predominately sticks to tried-and-tested genre conventions to make for an entertaining, if familiar ride. It’s in the script’s attempts to enrich its bare-bones plot through weaving in social commentary that the juiciest parts of this horror flick are found. Though not as profound as the likes of Get Out or Nia DaCosta’s Candyman, the underlying themes of poverty and race that stem from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina offer enough substance to give this vampire outing more bite. Slick animated sequences, a charismatic performance from Keith David, and some excellent comedic timing involving vampire deaths likewise bring some welcome personality to the mix.
Despite its extra depth, however, Black as Night is all over the place when it comes to its execution, with much of the lore pertaining to the larger story at hand heavily loaded in the final act. The pacing is so fast that there’s not much time for the script to slow things down and reflect upon its central message. Character relations suffer in a similar way, particularly the familial connection between Shawna and her brother (Frankie Smith).
Black as Night is an enjoyably pulpy, but flawed genre outing. Its deployment of social commentary puts an engaging twist on a familiar premise, but a scatter-brained execution sours the taste.
Black as Night is released on Amazon Prime Video on 1st October 2021.
Watch the trailer for Black as Night here: