BAD HAIR (2020) Reviews of Hulu comedy horror with new trailer

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Bad Hair is a 2020 American comedy horror feature film about a young black woman whose new hair weave seems to have a mind of its own.

Written and directed by Justin Simien, the Sight Unseen Pictures production stars Zaria Kelley, Corinne Massiah, Elle Lorraine and Jay Pharoah.

In 1989, an ambitious young black 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 realises that her new hair may have a mind of its own…

Bad Hair premiered on January 23, 2020, at the Sundance Film Festival. It will be streamed on Hulu from October 23, 2020.

“I don’t want to compare, but Bad Hair could’ve been for the Black femme community what Get Out out was for Black Americans and the diaspora as a whole. Instead, Simien used what could’ve been an effective tool of positive social commentary as one that shames and belittles the very people who need uplifting and protecting.” But Why Tho?

“It’s a challenging feat to make death by hair compelling and believable, but Justin Simien gets that job done. Again, the last 30 minutes or so of Bad Hair is relentlessly nutty, perhaps a bit too far away from the social commentary aspect, but there’s at least the sensation of a filmmaker successfully accomplishing one of the things he set out to do. Bad Hair sadly just doesn’t work as the social statement it’s going for ” Flickering Myth

“Simien nicely balances humor and horror, before spectacularly unleashing the climatic bedlam. Similarly, his sly depiction of the late-1980s music scene manages to be satirical, but in a way that also inspires nostalgia (the transparent Janet Jackson analog is a good example). Recommended with surprising enthusiasm for fans of body (or make the hair) horror and the 80’s pop culture it sends-up…” J.B. Spins

“Simien has found a niche exploring the cultural divide within different groups of black people, in much the same way Spike Lee’s School Daze saw dark-skinned blacks battle light-skinned. While there’s a little bit of Cronenberg-style body horror as inspiration, especially in the cheesy visuals of stringy hair strangling unsuspecting victims, Simien may have also drawn from the campy sub-genre of South Korean hair horrors like 2005’s The Wig.” Punch Drunk Critics

“At 115 minutes, Bad Hair suffers greatly from pacing problems, but it’s something to behold when it’s really working, and that’s true through most of the second half of the film. With echoes of camp, B-movies, ‘80s hip-hop, and female empowerment films of that era, Bad Hair is stunningly ambitious, and that overwhelms most of my issues with it.”

“The film tackles the absurdity in everyday life and in particular, the system of oppression that preys on African-American women the most. The women in the film are tricked into becoming their own oppressors, all in the name of fitting in with what society defines as beautiful. This movie is super smart, brutally honest, sometimes scathing, and highly uncomfortable, but it’s also really funny.” Screen Zealots

Bad Hair seems like it originated from a more straightforwardly horror-informed screenplay. I’d wager that when Simien began editing the story for the screen, though, he realized the absurdity of depicting  hair with a mind of its own, and instead of forcing anything, leaned into the comedic sensibility that Bad Hair so excellently achieves. It doesn’t hurt that Bad Hair’s star-studded cast performs with panache.” Slug Mag

I really enjoyed this […] I had seen some criticism that the film was overly long, but never felt that myself. The central idea is great, the underlying messaging important and the hair-related body-horror great fun. Best of all were the performances, strong throughout but absolutely stellar from Elle Lorraine…” Taliesin Meets the Vampires

Cast and characters:

Zaria Kelley … Young Anna
Corinne Massiah … Young Linda
Elle Lorraine … Anna Bludso
Jay Pharoah … Julius
Moses Storm … Male NV6 Exec
Madeleine Byrne … RMV VJ
James Van Der Beek … Grant Madison
Ashley Blaine Featherson … Rosalyn
Lena Waithe … Brook-Lynne
Yaani King Mondschein … Sista Soul
Judith Scott … Edna
Vanessa Williams … Zora
Tiffany Black … Block Producer
Kelly Rowland … Sandra
Jamila Glass … Back-Up Dancer #1

Technical details:

115 minutes (!)

MOVIES and MANIA rating:

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