Black Cast Horror Flick Turns Fright Formula Upside-Down
Fans of horror fare are undoubtedly familiar with certain fright flick conventions such as the notion that the black guy is generally afraid of his shadow and is also the first person to die in the picture. As one might suspect, these familiar traditions could easily be turned upside-down when you have a movie made by a black director.
Case in point: Holla, a film directed by H.M. Coakley and featuring a cast comprised mostly of African-American actors, but with a few token Caucasians aboard to play uncharacteristic roles in a production which flips the traditional script. So, don’t be surprised to find a white person perishing first, singing “we Shall Overcome,” calling a sister by the B-word or looking spooked and scared as if he’s about to jump out of his skin.
The basic plotline of this high attrition-rate screamer is straightforward enough, as it revolves around a bunch of attractive twenty-somethings who find a way to end up stuck in a cabin in the forest for a weekend during a driving thunderstorm. Besides the aforementioned fraidy cat, the crew contains your typical mix of readily identifiable archetypes.
This gathering, referred to as “a bunch of bourgie-ass N-words on a camping trip,” is being hosted by Monica (Shelli Boone), a TV sitcom star, and her boyfriend, Dwayne (Charles Porter). It’s not long before the first victim is stabbed to death and all eyes focus on the obvious suspect, the only uninvited guest, Dwayne’s recently-paroled cousin, Troy (Young Sir).
That obvious red-herring has the seasoned cinematic sleuth looking at everyone else closely, but this well-conceived mystery cleverly conceals which person is behind the series of slashings which threatens to take all of their lives. Look for lots of the genre’s staples such as the erotically-charged sight of cute, curvy coeds cavorting about in fear in their underwear.
A serial killer with jungle fever.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for violence, profanity and ethnic slurs.
Running time: 85 minutes
Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Commentary with director H.M. Coakley, screenwriter Camillle Irons Coakley and co-star Shelli Boone, “The Making of” featurette, plus trailers.