Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Hair Wolf (2018): A Nebulous Review Of A Spectacular Horror Game Changer


One dark evening, a Black hair care salon faces its biggest threat: a white female patron with a bizarre effect on some of the stylists.

Written & Directed by Mariama Diallo

There's a depth to the culturally-related grievances from Black women. From shreds have our foremothers created traditions, heritage. From our features, a truly original presence that has the globe's attention with no equitable reward. A Black woman's parts are desired, but not her full emotional form. And what ways can this be expressed? In horror and humor, filmmaker Mariama Diallo has unleashed the literal perfect balance of this message that is accessible to all.

Hair Wolf is a jewel of a narrative that opens on Cami's (Kara Young) frightening encounter with Rebecca (Madeline Weinstein) a.k.a. "Count Beckula," a vapid, floating white woman who makes robotic compliments about her glorious bushell of hair and more face-palming, uninformed statements about Black hair care products. More terrifying (and quite the parallel) than that earth goop in The Stuff  or a menacing shape in It Follows, Madeline trails Cami to a Brooklyn hair salon where stylist Janice (Trae Harris) with pro-black Damon (Jermaine Crawford) are made vulnerable to the clutches of Rebecca's thirst for "braaaids". With the other hair care specialist Eve (Taliah Webster) on the brink of catching the gentrified madness, can final girl Cami break the spell with a reminder of pride in identity?

All parts exaggerated intent and satirical sharpness, Hair Wolf is an undoubtedly timely affair that leans into the tangible struggle people of color face to preserve community and self in the face of systemic extinction. This hopefully, seemingly glowing review is from my one-time screening at a film festival memory bank, so the details may be fuzzier than I would like. But the overall hilarious, biting message is singed into my core.

Hair Wolf exceeds its hype and is a definitive crowd pleaser!

More on Hair Wolf:

On Cultural Appropriation, Gentrification And Horror With The Director Of Brooklyn Beauty Shop-Set 'Hair Wolf'

Sundance-Winning Short Film 'Hair Wolf': Casting High-Quality Actors and Making Your Money Back


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