Written & Directed by: Justin Simien
Cinematography: Topher Osborn
Editor: Philip J. Bartell & Kelly Matsumoto
Cast: Elle Lorraine, Jay Pharoah, Lena Waithe, Vanessa Williams, Blair Underwood, Laverne Cox, James Van Der Beek, Usher Raymond IV, Kelly Rowland, Robin Thede, Judith Scott, Michelle Hurd, MC Lyte, Chante Adams, Nicole Byer, Steve Zissis, Yaani King Mondschlien, Ashley Blane featherstone, Daheli Hall, Courtney Sauls
In 1989 an ambitious young woman gets a weave in order to succeed in the image-obsessed world of music television. However, her flourishing career may come at a great cost when she realizes that her new hair may have a mind of its own.
While the film is definitely inspired, as it comes off as modern-day folklore. It also seems to become more fascinated with its time period of being set in 1989.
Which leads to plenty of comedy and laughs due to fashions and even hairstyles. It also comes at a certain cornerstone of culture. Where weaves really started to become popular and were seen as a symbol of beauty and professionalism and the film explores that concept to a degree. Which is a horror in itself becoming someone else or to a degree letting go of your natural self for something more processed and artificial.
Here the hair is haunted to a degree. This leads to some social satire and follows the general rules of a horror film though without much of the violence you usually see. Though it gets it’s point across.
There are plenty of laughs, not as many thrills and chills. As the film comes across as looking for more depths, but still feels shallow itself or a kind of artificial product. The film comes off weak for what it seems to promise.
Even filming in old film stick seems inspired but also reminds us how much of a throwback the film is and makes it come across. As more synthetic than it should.
As it also never comes off as playful as it seeks. It wants to be campy but then wants to be serious and teach some kind of story. It tries to be of the time it is set in but seems to rest more in humor as everything else seems or feels like it falls short in what it seeks. As there is little to no tension.
It also doesn’t help when it tips it’s audience off so many times. Like at the salon when Laverne Cox shows up and her make up is already obscured and the tone looks more zombie-ish. You can tell something is off or not right.
For most of the movie, you wait for something to happen as you keep getting hints until you finally want to see some action.
The special effects seem like CGI when it was first beginning. So that when used it never comes across as scary if anything it comes off as elementary and almost comical. So that the film never has any scares and the kills are unimpressive.
The film tries to have style but comes off as more artificial. As the film seems to want to say anything tiring in many issues into the horror but it comes across as shallow. As the characters come off as.
Don’t get me wrong it does entertain but comes across as a movie that never comes fully. It feels filled with filler. So that it feels more like an episode rather than a movie. Especially with it’s ending.
In the end, it has such promise and seems like it is going for a goal that has the audience excited only to fizzle out. More like an overwrought anthology story that goes on for too long.