The film is an impressive and relevant take on Mary Shelley’s classic FRANKENSTEIN.
Bomani J. Story’s The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster just screened at SXSW, and it’s an impressive take on Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein through a more timely perspective. This story transpires in the present day in an inner city neighborhood overrun with drugs, gangs, and violence, and that’s where we meet Vicaria (Laya DeLeon Hayes), a brilliant young Black girl who’s spent her life haunted by death: first her mother, who was on the cusp of graduating from nursing school, and more recently her brother Chris, who was gunned down by the police after getting mixed up with the gang that has a stranglehold on their development. Vicaria is obsessed with the idea that death is simply a disease that she can cure, and she does in fact do just that.
After collecting enough “spare parts” thanks to the constant shootings around her home, she is able to bring back her brother through her plucky science know-how. But like all stories like this, the Chris that comes back isn’t the man he once was, and he goes on a rampage against those who were responsible for his death. Side stepping the camp, The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster is, at its core, a monster of a metaphor with dense subtext. The film uses the setting to touch on the cyclical nature of violence, but it also dips into race, history, the value of life, and identity. Below the surface of this taught creature feature, there’s a lot of layers at work, all masterfully balanced to tell a tale that had me transfixed from start to finish.
Story shows a deft hand at work as he slowly sets the stage for the impending tragic conclusion. Hayes is equally impressive as she navigates grief and loss, taking us to these dark places while never losing the audience. It’s not an easy performance for a young woman, but she comfortably carries the narrative and never looses her steady footing. While The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster is a horror film, there’s most definitely a strong emotional core to the story as well of a young woman trying desperately to save her family. The film wears its eviscerated heart on its sleeve as it deals out heaping portions of the red stuff along with some much needed food for thought. It’s a tough balance, but the film never feels too preachy with its message. The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster will no doubt be a cult classic.