Black as Night is a 2021 American horror film about a resourceful teenage girl who battles the vampires terrorising her city of New Orleans.
Directed by Maritte Lee Go (Phobias segment: ‘Vehophobia’) from a screenplay written by Sherman Payne (Scream: The TV Series; Legacies TV series). Executive produced by Jason Blum, Jeremy Gold, Marci Wiseman, Lisa Bruce, Maggie Malina and Guy Stodel.
The Blumhouse Television-Amazon Studios co-production stars Asjha Cooper (There’s Someone Inside Your House), Fabrizio Guido, Mason Beauchamp, Abbie Gayle, Craig Tate and Keith David (Horizon Line; Tales from the Hood 2; They Live; The Thing).
Fifteen years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, a new threat leaves its mark on the Big Easy in the form of puncture wounds on the throats of the city’s vulnerable displaced population.
When her drug-addicted mom becomes the latest victim of the undead, fifteen-year-old Shawna (Asjha Cooper) vows to even the score. Along with three trusted friends, Shawna hatches a bold plan to infiltrate the vampire’s mansion in the historic French Quarter, destroy their leader, and turn his fanged disciples back to their human form.
However, killing monsters is no easy task, and soon Shawna and her crew find themselves caught in a centuries-old conflict between warring vampire factions, each fighting to claim New Orleans as their permanent home…
Black as Night has more teeth than the severely underdeveloped Bingo Hell (another cheapo production from Blumhouse) and although the social messaging is unsubtly laid on with a trowel (what is it with most modern filmmakers? Why do they treat their audiences as dumbos?) at least the New Orleans setting has some resonance due to the horrendous treatment of the black community both prior to and after Hurricane Katrina.
Slightly camp and vapid Mexican Chris (played by Mason Beauchamp) seems like a tick box addition to the proceedings rather than a genuine character with anything to say (so, actually an insult to the LGBTQ community rather than a positive, cos just a token gay) and the supposedly straight-laced white girls who are into vampires is just unbelievably feeble. Things perk up when always welcome Keith David shows up. Negatives aside, this is dumb and sorta misguided, yet mild fun.
” …lack of depth to any of the characters with the narrative feeling underwritten too, the strange goings-on in New Orleans offering an interesting angle for the film to work with yet never feeling like it’s explored enough. There’s a bit of a flat feeling to the film too, Maritte Lee Go’s direction not doing enough to make this exciting while the visuals hardly do anything to bring any life into proceedings.” Barton Reviews
” …it takes until 52 minutes in before Keith David (as lead vampire Babineaux) shows up, and the vampire ‘action’ is no ‘Buffy’ – just occasional, rather than constant, and even when it does happen, every death is pretty much the same. Had there been loads of it, this could’ve been so much better. Since it doesn’t, it has some moments, but does rather ramble on, albeit with some light comedy thrown in.” DVD Fever
” …highlights Candyman’s inherent contradiction of why a bogeyman begotten from oppression (of which gentrification is the latest expression) targets black people […] You don’t seriously expect this perky teen foray to supply a real answer to that, not when it’s too busy having fun regurgitating Blade, Buffy and making vampires pop like ash-filled piñatas. But still, this is a cheerfully unburdened treatment.” The Guardian
” …genre movies have always been commenting on social issues. Just often in campy or very over the top ways. Now it’s deeper and darker. However, I wouldn’t say Black as Night excels at that. Instead, it’s more heartfelt with a teen love story as part of the plot as well. That’s fine, but it does not work in the favor of making it scarier.” Heaven of Horror
“Cooper makes Shawna’s journey from insecure wallflower to confident vampire killer an endearing one, and Keith David is here to lend his always welcome gravitas. And though it often feels like Black as Night is content to just jump on a crowded ride, it consistently finds small moments to call its own. Plus, large numbers of vampires to kill!” MaddWolf
“Cooper is a fantastic leading lady who beautifully steps her character up from young girl to strong black woman with the help of her best friend, a boy crush and a peculiar rich girl […] Although fun and enlightening, it lacks any real thrill or horror. A movie that’s only good for anyone breaking into the horror/thriller genre or those that like to keep their trills to a minimum.” Punch Drunk Critics
“The vampire story is a bit light, the miles of tunnels mentioned, for the finale, is three underground rooms and there is a foreshadowed but still a tad Deus ex Machina moment that could have been handled better. However, the film tackles some important social issues but manages not to get bogged down in them and is a quality production.” Taliesin Meets the Vampires
” …Cooper and fellow castmates are appealing enough, and the film moves at a brisk pace with some attractive packaging elements […] Black As Night goes down easily enough, especially in visual terms. But one wishes its story content had enough edge and ballast not to vanish from the memory quite so easily afterwards.” Variety
Black as Night will be available to stream on Amazon Prime on October 1, 2021.
Cast and characters:
Nicole Barre … Nurse
Mason Beauchamp … Chris
Theodus Crane … Bald Guy
Keith David … Babineaux
Tunde Laleye … Yakubu
Al Mitchell … Marvin
Sammy Nagi Njuguna … Tunde
Andrew Penrow … Vampire
Derek Roberts … Steven
Joseph Singletary … Vampire
Tim J. Smith … Homeless Vampire #1
Kenneisha Thompson … Denise
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Vampires vs. The Bronx (2020)