Director: Maritte Lee Go
Writer: Sherman Payne
Starring: Asjha Cooper, Fabrizio Guido, Abbie Gayle, Mason Beauchamp, Theodus Crane, Sammy Nagi Njuguna, Al Mitchell, Derek Roberts, and Keith David
The second Welcome to the Blumhouse anthology film of 2021 is Black as Night, a story about a group of teenagers who take on vampires that are killing people in the neighbourhood. After a party one night, Shawna (Asjha Cooper) is attacked by a vampire when walking home. Her neck is bitten, and the wound won’t heal. It leads her to discover that vampires are very real, and her best friend Pedro (Fabrizio Guido) joins her to take them on.
While this is a vampire story, and it’s dark with a lot of death and violence, it’s not a horror film. There are no scares to be found. It’s more of an action film with the main characters planning on how to get into the lair of the vampires to kill their leader and turn the rest back into humans.
The characters are interesting enough, and much like Bingo Hell (the first entry to the anthology series this year) we get to spend a lot of time with the main characters before the action starts. They’re well written and fully developed, quickly side-stepping the flaw that most horror films fall into of having weak main characters. Asjha Cooper and Fabrizio Guido are both great as the two best friends at the centre of the story. From the first scene you get a good idea of who they are and get invested enough in their lives to want to watch more.
Black as Night is a fairly standard vampire story. There are no real surprises to be found, or twists that aren’t already cliches of the genre. What makes the film feel different is the social commentary that is added on top of it. This is a story about racism and wealth gap told as a vampire story. It’s not heavy handed with its themes, but they are present in the story, and it would be hard to miss.
Being under ninety minutes, the story moves quickly, hitting on familiar plot points in quick succession. Thanks to some interesting and likable characters the film never gets boring. Keith David as the activist who appears throughout the story is a great addition to the cast. He’s excellent in everything he’s in and his charisma is well placed in the character, especially when you get to the second half of the story.
Black as Night is entertaining and fun to watch, while also grappling with some heavy topics. It’s not originally in any sense but it’s enjoyable while it’s on. It feels right at home on Amazon Prime and is a perfect addition to any Halloween horror marathon.