Black as Night tries to make its way into the comical vampire genre but doesn’t impress. It is a one-time watch only if you are planning to binge-watch.
The story is precisely what you think it is. There’s a girl who teams up with her close friends to bring down the vampire lord of her neighborhood. Even the details are what anyone would expect. The girl gets bitten but survives for some unknown reason, loses a parent (mother) to vampires, and decides to take revenge by killing their leader.
‘Black as Night’ Plot Summary
Shawna (Asjha Cooper) lives in a New Orleans neighborhood in Louisiana plagued by blood-sucking vampires. However, they don’t work by their instinct. Instead, they have a black preacher, Babineaux (Keith David), also a vampire, who intends to create an army to wage war as revenge for the hundreds of years of forced servitude of the black race in America. One Night, she is bitten by one of the vampires. But she doesn’t turn into a vampire, thanks to the vampire who didn’t kill her, which is needed to turn into one. However, her mom does become a vampire and dies in front of her.
Shawna thus takes the oath to kill those responsible for her mom’s death. With the help of her best friend Pedro (Fabrizio Guido), crush Chris (Mason Beauchamp), and guide Granya (Abbie Gayle), she chalks out a plan to kill the leader of the vampires and end this threat once and for all. They go to the mansion, which they find out and believe is the home of the vampire Lord Lefrak. However, they later realize that Lefrak isn’t the leader but Babineaux, the same preacher whom Shawna used to cross, preaching, every time she came to Ombreux housing to visit her mom. The movie ends with Shawna killing Babineaux, but in the process, she loses her best friend, Pedro. But, and anyone would have predicted this, the last scene shows a knock on Shawna’s door with a vampire Pedro wishing her, “Hey, Mami.”
The Underlying Theme
The creators borrowed from multiple events related to racism in America and added it to the vampires’ origin’s crux. This was evident when Pedro enlightened Shawna about Lefrak’s manor. The owner was one of Louisiana’s most notorious slave owners. This would make sense because historically speaking, New Orleans was, up till the beginning of the 19th century, the largest slave market in the US.
Later on, towards the movie’s end, Babineaux mentions specific years that saw outrage due to racism. They were 1859, 1968, 1992, and 2020. 1859 saw the Great Slave Auction (the most significant single sale of enslaved people in American history).
Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated in 1968 while the year 1992 saw the Los Angeles riots in the aftermath of the Rodney King case. And 2020 saw the George Floyd tragedy and outrage. For Babineaux, all the marches and revolts have led to nothing. This is why he has taken the ultimate step to raise an army of vampires that would allow people like them to lead a life of free will.
Babineaux’s words to Shawna, “It tastes so much sweeter when it’s against your will,” seem to echo the hundreds of years of racism and how slavery must have looked during those times.
All in all, Black as Night is a mediocre movie that may or may not serve as a binge-watch. There’s not much character exploration, although we don’t really need them. The vampires also some-what made their mark since they didn’t appear that threatening. There are more than long canines and yellow eyes to them, right? Directed by Mariette Lee Go, Black as Night is a low-budget take on vampire culture that doesn’t live up to the expectations but is compelling enough to make us want more.
Black as Night is a 2021 Drama Thriller film directed by Maritte Lee Go. It is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.