Vampire Owl: I thought this would be dark as night.
Vampire Bat: I am sure that they meant the exact same thing.
Vampire Owl: Yet, night is not black. It is just dark due to the absence of light.
Vampire Bat: I didn’t know that you were that interested in being exact.
Vampire Owl: Well, the are going to deal with the vampires. So they better be.
Vampire Bat: These are not really our type of vampires.
Vampire Owl: When they talk about real vampires, it has to be about us.
Vampire Bat: They are preferring variations these days.
Vampire Owl: Such a ridiculous human world. No wonder they have the virus.
Vampire Bat: Maybe they did create the virus. We cannot be sure.
[Gets a chicken puffs and three cups of iced tea].
What is the movie about? :: In the beginning, it is seen that a homeless man who is searching for cans is attacked by a group of three vampires who show no mercy. At the same time, in the same city of New Orleans, Shawna (Asjha Cooper), a teenage girl lives with her father Steven (Derek Roberts) and her big brother Jamal (Frankie Smith) as the mother Denise (Kenneisha Thompson) is living apart after becoming a drug addict. At the same time, there are many things going on the streets, including protests, with the distant possibility of riots too. Pedro (Frabizio Guido) who is her best friend forces her to be close to Chris (Mason Beauchamp) on whom she has a big crush, but that doesn’t seem to be a good idea, with her not being of his interest, and she also coming up against vampires who attacks her, but leaves when a car comes to the area. That leaves her scared as she feels that she would turn into a bat or a vampire. Along with the disappointment of not getting the attention of Chris after a talk, she is not afraid of noy being human anymore.
So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: In the morning, she sees that she is not affected by sunlight, unlike what she had read about. She feels that there is something vampiric about the place where her mother was staying, and when she reaches there with a doubting Pedro, they find out that Denise was bitten too. But unlike her, Denise is quick to transform into a vampire, leading to the curtains being taken off, only to have her burnt till death. As New Orleans is full of strange beliefs, and a lot of spiritual and magical stuff, she decides to get the help of some people who have some expertise in the same – the police have no idea about what has happened. Instead of going to the usual voodoo and hoodoo practitioners, they go to Granya (Abbie Gayle) who is supposed to be the great vampire expert. They still base their assumptions on vampire fiction, but they do feel that there is some idea about the same, and a sympathetic Chris also joins the team. But are they enough?
The defence of Black as Night :: We do have another addition to the vampire tales, and this does add up when we look at it that way. The first scene does add some power, and that adds the scary feeling that something interesting is surely going to happen soon enough – the film’s strength seems to be the beginning rather than the rest. The setting of New Orleans is all very good, and it keeps us interested enough, with the feeling that something could happen at any particular point. It could be suitable for the teenage audience more, like Twilight was largely successful with them, even though not with those who have traditionally liked the vampires through great works of fiction brought to us as classics from history. The ending provides us with a chance to have another sequel, and the same can keep us hoping for a better film to come later, without the extra nonsense social commentary added in between. If you are looking for one more vampire film in a world which seems to have moved away from the earlier vampire interest, this one will be a reminder.
The claws of flaw :: The emotional side is rather too weak, and we often have nothing to care about here, not just the protagonist, but also the remaining ones. There is also a lot more to care about when you are making a vampire movie – it is not like coming up with a creature movie with demons or aliens. It doesn’t have that vampire power which a movie like this should have possessed. When vampire terror should have been effectively, it does struggle to do the same, and often holds back without any particular reason. The opportunity to make this a horror comedy is not used well enough either. The movie is indeed a master in making the opportunities go missing. The chance to add some message about inequality and race in there also goes missing, and the usual good use of history in vampire works also falls flat. You cannot use social commentary where it doesn’t fit, and this one keeps pouring that at all places without success. It is also very quick to have us tired of all these things repeating, and has no big action happen unlike expectations.
Performers of the soul :: Asjha Cooper leads the way here as the leading lady, and happens to be okay in her work. Then there is also Mason Beauchamp and Frabizio Guido who seems to be leading the film together. But the one who seems to be more suitable to this situation is Abbie Gayle, with a character who is very much into the vampires. The others do have more screen time, but she seems to play the role of more relevance in comparison. The one face which seems to be somewhat familiar might be that of Keith David, who plays one of the major character really well, and so does Craig Tate, both of them being memorable people of darkness in the film. Sammy Nagi Njuguna and Tunde Laleye also have some notable roles around here, even though they are of significance only in the last moments of the film. Frankie Smith and Derek Roberts adds on with some less utilized characters, all of them seemingly reduced as the movie lasts less than one and half hours, rather too less for a film which seems to try to look back into some turbulent history – it is a shame.
How it finishes :: Here we have another vampire tale, even though the focus here is not that strong, and it is not the regular vampire thing as we usually know it. If there was better innovation, this could have been one fine vampire movie. Throughout the film, you know that vampires deserve better – films like Interview with the Vampire and Byzantium has already gone through the vampire world with class, and the Underworld series had the right vampire action. This one never really gets strong enough. Black as Night, despite seemingly having something in store, doesn’t really have the same. As we are going through the Corona virus pandemic which never seems to end, and all the natural disasters which never seems to move way, we do need some movies to fill up, and this one might do just fine for some people. After all, theatres have not opened in this part of the world yet, and you know that all the things that we are to fear will stay long enough, we have the intuition.
Release date: 1st October 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Maritte Lee Go
Starring: Mason Beauchamp, Asjha Cooper, Theodus Crane, Keith David, Abbie Gayle, Frabizio Guido, Tunde Laleye, Al Mitchell, Sammy Nagi Njuguna, Andrew Penrow, Nicole Barre, Derek Roberts, Joseph Singletary, Frankie Smith, Tim J Smith, Craig Tate, Kenneisha Thompson
@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.