Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Black Horror Films: Matthew 18 (2014)

Writer, director, and producer Roy Belfrey is at the helm of what's being called "The Scariest African American Film... Ever!" titled Matthew 18. Being a nitpicky pessimist for a moment, why can't it just be the scariest horror film or thriller ever? What makes it the scariest African American film ever? Aren't perceptions of what's scary and what isn't subjective? You can't make these blanket, click-bait statements without some thoughtful commentary with your potential audience. Upon finding this, I really wanted to hear more from the filmmaker, especially this first teaser was slightly underwhelming. But effectively enough, I suppose the line does capture attention. Here's the breakdown:

Michelle Jamieson is too smart for faith. She has been raised in the tired traditions of her deeply religious family and is ready to expand her independent thought and stand in her logical, free-will. When the opportunity arises for her to separate from her Washington D.C. home and her bible-thumping parents, she takes a scholarship for her sought after medical program at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Eager to base her beliefs in the proof of science and develop her life decisions on the tangible experience of medicine – where every effect has a root cause and miracles come in the form of prescription slips; she wisps across the country to find her path, her truth. But what she finds supersedes her natural existence – making her mortality vulnerable to the spiritual realm she so comfortably doubted. Michelle stays in a Minneapolis mansion, a family property dating back many generations. She begins to encounter strange and unexplainable occurrences. As she is forced to investigate, what she uncovers is a world of family secrets and unspeakable evils that God himself may not save her from. In whose name will she cry out now?

Judging from the synopsis and suspending my pessimism for a moment, I hope to see a film that's intriguing as well as complicated. I hope to see Michelle have a layered arc and not some gimmicky, linear mortality tale. Please? Horror is too rich of an artistic space to see opportunities wasted. I'm not enthused by this trailer. But I am hoping to be proven wrong.

Matthew 18 stars Jennifer Jayleen Martinez, Luenell, and Faizon Love and will be released on November 14th

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