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‘Black as Night’ is a Trope-Heavy Teen Vampire Trip through New Orleans

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Black as Night

Black as Night debuted on Amazon Prime this Friday. The vampire story owes a lot to its predecessors while trying something new.

Written by Sherman Payne (Scream: The TV Series) and directed by Maritte Lee Go (Fractured) in her feature debut, Black as Night follows a teenage girl named Shawna (Asjha Cooper) and her GBF Pedro (Fabrizio Guido) as they spend their summer in New Orleans fighting vampires who are attacking the homeless, drug-addicted residents of the city’s housing projects. Along for the ride are her big crush Chris (Mason Beauchamp) and a rich girl named Granya (Abbie Gayle) who is obsessed with the undead.

Sadly, that’s about all the character development Payne gave his characters. Certainly they come together to save their friends and family, but it all seems tenuous at times.

Shawna narrates the story with the feel of Carrie Bradshaw with lines like “That was the Summer I got breasts and fought vampires” or “Did that really just happen? Was I bitten by a vampire?” Unfortunately, that’s par for much of the storytelling in a film that can’t seem to figure out what it wants to be.

Black as Night draws comparisons–even in its own dialogue–to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but never commits to that fully. It also takes sudden, rough deep dives into heavier topics like colorism, gentrification, and disenfranchisement that come from nowhere only to disappear without ever really affecting the storyline. The result is a plot that is jarring at the worst of times and head-scratching at others.

Still there are things to like about Black as Night. The cast jumps into their roles with both feet, committing to the absurdity of the script almost to a fault resulting in characters who are tropes themselves yet almost believably so.

Shawna is the dark-skinned girl who gets hell from everyone around her for being so dark, and she’s tempted by vampires covet it as a power. Pedro is a ridiculous gay stereotype who is also a track star with the opportunity to go to a better school and a better life and emerges as one of the most promising characters in the film.

Chris is the party-boy jock with a heart of gold who actually likes the dark-skinned girl even though he won’t say that around his friends but comes through when the chips are down. Granya is a privileged rich white girl who drops what she’s doing to help strangers but eventually runs away when the going gets tough…or does she?

The question is: Is this a fault in the film?

Is the lack of character development and rough transitions from one topic to the other a fault in the storytelling? Or did they intentionally play up the stereotypes and tropes in an effort to subvert expectations and trick their audience into thinking more deeply about the issues?

I’m not sure I know the answer to that.

What I do know is that when the film works, it really works. When it doesn’t…well, sometimes it just doesn’t.

In the meantime, you also have an over-the-top performance by Keith David as a street-preacher who might be something more and an attempt at a new mythology for vampires that could actually be really potent in the hands of the right writer. Both of these things make a watch of Black as Night a fun watch. Moreover, even with an honest look at its faults, the film is no less enjoyable than some of the stale 80s horror films fans call “classics” while overlooking bad writing, bad acting, etc.

My advice to all you horror fans out there is to check it out yourself. You can see the movie on Amazon Prime now along with Bingo Hell which also debuted on Friday. Check out the trailer for Black as Night below.

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‘Wednesday” Comes To Netflix November 23rd

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Most of us originally thought that the new Wednesday series would premiere in October. It would certainly fit in perfectly with the spooky season. However, when we didn’t see the series starring Jenna Ortega on the Netflix and Chills list we knew we would have to wait a bit longer.

We have received official word that the much anticipated Tim Burton series will be released on Netflix Thanksgiving weekend. The date was shared along with a new poster that you can see below.

Watch Wednesday On Netflix Starting November 23, 2022

The synopsis for Wednesday goes like this:

The series is a sleuthing, supernaturally infused mystery charting Wednesday Addams’ years as a student at Nevermore Academy, where she attempts to master her emerging psychic ability, thwart a monstrous killing spree that has terrorized the local town, and solve the murder mystery that embroiled her parents 25 years ago — all while navigating her new and very tangled relationships at Nevermore.

Go deeper into the Wednesday character with Jenna Ortega and Tim Burton in this featurette.

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‘Sinphony’ Trailer Reveals a New Terrifying Anthology Experience

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Sinphony

Sinphony: A Clubhouse Horror Anthology offers up nine new tales of horror all packed in a tense set. The stories range from a witch trying to protect her kids from a killer to mold spores that make you ravenous if inhaled.

The synopsis for Sinphony: A Clubhouse Horror Anthology goes like this:

Conceived and curated entirely on the popular, audio-based social media platform Clubhouse and produced by Screen Anthology, SINPHONY: A Clubhouse Horror Anthology features a group of international filmmakers each exploring a character dealing with tragedy caused by a supernatural entity. 

The directors contributing segments to the film include a new who’s who of horror: Haley Bishop, Jason Ragosta, Sebastien Bazile & Michael Galvan, Mark Pritchard, Kimberley Elizabeth, Jason Wilkinson, Nichole Carlson, Steven Keller and Wes Driver.

SINPHONY’s shocking stories include: an innkeeper’s growing concern about his secretive new guests; a contractor who inhales mold spores that lead to murder; a couple confronting the fact that one of them is a ghost; a witch protecting her child from a killer; a dance craze that has dire consequences, and much more.

Sinphony’s directors include Jason Ragosta, Steven Keller, Haley Bishop, Wes Driver, Mark Pritchard, Kimberley Elizabeth, Jason Wilkinson, Nicole Carlson, Michael Galvan & Sebastien Bazile.

Sinphony arrives in theaters, on digital and in theaters beginning October 21.

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Keanu Reeves Will Return As ‘Constantine’ in Sequel Directed by Francis Lawrence

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Constantine

Keanu Reeves will finally return as John Constantine in a film directed by Francis Lawrence once again. Deadline reports that the new film has been given the greenlight. The first film came out back in 2005 and introduced a very different version of DC’s Hellblazer John Constantine.

The Constantine sequel will be directed by Lawrence and produced by Bad Robot with JJ Abrams and Hannah Minghella. Plus, Akiva Goldsmith is set to write.

Over the years since the release of 2005’s Constantine, Matt Ryan played a very authentic version of the blonde, British demonologist for a shortlived NBC series. Ryan has also given the character voice in animated films as well as portrayed the character in spinoffs to other DC worlds such as Legends of Tomorrow.

The synopsis for Constantine went like this:

As a suicide survivor, demon hunter John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) has literally been to hell and back — and he knows that when he dies, he’s got a one-way ticket to Satan’s realm unless he can earn enough goodwill to climb God’s stairway to heaven. While helping policewoman Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz) investigate her identical twin’s apparent suicide, Constantine becomes caught up in a supernatural plot involving both demonic and angelic forces. Based on the DC/Vertigo “Hellblazer” comics.

Over the years we have heard buzz about a possible Constantine sequel several times, with no actual flame behind the sparks. So, it is definitely exciting to see the film actually moving forward.

Stay tuned for more Keanu Constantine details.

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