A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Believe in yourself. Find confidence. Stand up for what's right.
Positive Role Models
Shawna is a socially awkward teenager who, through fighting vampires, learns to believe in herself and develop confidence.
Mostly African American cast. Characters are fully developed, addressing issues like the loss of a family member, drug addiction, the loss of affordable and/or public housing in predominantly African American neighborhoods in post-Katrina New Orleans, New Orleans history, civil rights. Lead character's best friend is a gay Mexican American teen.
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Violence & Scariness
Vampire horror scares and violence throughout. Vampires attack homeless people on the street, shrieking and howling as they bite their necks; some blood. Woman found in her apartment after being attacked by vampires, is set on fire, and falls out of the apartment window. Humans attack vampires, driving stakes through their hearts, shoving silver into their faces, throwing garlic or garlic powder at them, resulting in horrific shrieking. Jump scares throughout. A security guard of a house lets two teen girls inside and makes inappropriate sexual insinuations about them.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lead character's gay best friend remarks on how her breasts have grown in the past year. Man tells lead character (a teen) that he likes younger women. While in a bedroom, lead character asks the man sitting on the bed, "Don't we need a rubber?" Some kissing, flirtation.
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Profanity throughout. "N" word used several times. Also: "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "bitch-ass," "damn," "hell."
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Products & Purchases
Tampax mentioned by name in one scene. iPad mentioned by name in a scene.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens hold plastic cups while at a party. Drug addiction is mentioned.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Black as Night is a 2021 coming-of-age horror movie in which a teen girl in New Orleans fights vampires who are preying on the homeless. Humans attack vampires, driving stakes through their hearts, shoving silver into their faces, and throwing garlic or garlic powder at them, resulting in horrific shrieking. A homeless man is shown being attacked by three vampires, gnawing on his throat before dragging his lifeless body. A female vampire in a housing project catches fire then falls out of the building before hitting the ground and exploding. Jump scares throughout. Profanity, including the "N" word and "f--k." A security guard in a mansion lets two teenage girls inside the house after making sleazy comments about their youth and beauty. Man tells teen girl how he likes much younger women. Upon entering a man's bedroom, teen girl asks, "Don't we need a rubber?" The movie also addresses social concerns such as homelessness, addiction, the struggles African American communities in New Orleans faced in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the historical aspects of institutional racism. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is an earnest, if clunky, coming-of-age vampire movie. Black as Night is a movie with a message, or, messages, about, among other things, the plight of African American communities in post-Katrina New Orleans, and how this is only one of the more recent examples of an institutional racism going back for centuries. It's also a coming-of-age movie and a vampire horror movie, with many of the standards and tropes that appear in both genres. "That was the summer I got breasts and fought vampires," recalls lead character Shawna in a voiceover like something from The Wonder Years or Stand by Me, and while this is a clearly heartfelt effort to use these two well-known genres to communicate deeper messages, these messages often tend to slow down the action.
Still, there is a sense of fun in playing with the conventions of setting a vampire movie in New Orleans that works here. The acting from the main characters adds a richness to these characters that could've been mawkish or cliched in less-skilled performers. For instance, as the "sassy all-knowing gay bff" character Pedro, Fabrizio Guido adds dimensions that make the character much more complex than that shopworn cliche so typical of romcoms. Overall, this movie will be entertaining to those who like a side of social commentary or teen angst with their horror.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.