Parents' Guide to

Black as Night

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Vampire violence, social commentary in teen horror movie.

Movie NR 2021 87 minutes
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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.

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