New Orleans teens battle blood suckers in “The Big Easy.”
Blumhouse graces us with its second annual Halloween feature film project, serving up four frightful treats for its horror fest. Black as Night, one of the four films that premiered October 1 alongside Bingo Hell, features 15-year-old Shawna whose family is in disarray following Hurricane Katrina’s devastating impact on New Orleans. One night after leaving a party she was attending, she sees a homeless man being attacked by vampires and intervenes, only to end up being attacked herself. Now burning with vengeance, Shawna sets out along her flamboyant BFF, her teen crush and a peculiar rich girl to kill the vampire responsible for her mother’s death and stop a vampire uprising in the “Big Easy.”
Black as Night plays out like your average teen horror movie with the protagonists suddenly thrusted into this unfamiliar world where they discover that creatures of the night really exist, and they are now tasked with stopping them using rudimentary methods. It’s comparable to “Monster Squad” in this sense. Toss in some light humor and the power of friendship and you got a film that is entertainingly fun to watch. While it isn’t anything like “Cabin in the Woods” or “Final Destination”, Black as Night is still an enjoyable film with a good balance of horror and humor while also fleshing out Shawna’s own story as well as shining light on a real-world issue. The effects of Hurricane Katrina are still felt by some residents of Louisiana especially among women who became pregnant following the storm. This alludes to the real-world issue in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward where the effects of Katrina are still felt to this day. The film does well to convey this situation.
Where Black as Night succeeds in some areas, it lacks in others. While it is interesting to see vampires of color on screen, they were not particularly intimidating when compared to their depiction in other movies of this genre. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the most comparable film I can think of, and the vampires in that film were more intimidating than the homeless vamps running around New Orleans. The film also lacked the atmosphere that would generally make for a frightful feature. The feeling was more “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” than Buffy. Despite this, Black as Night is an enjoyable film that puts a new spin on the vampire lore while also making the characters fun and relatable.
Black as Night gets 3 out of 5.