A black vampire story is something that comes around every so often and yet, unfortunately, some of them aren’t all that great. Black as Night however has a plot that’s not entirely solid but is still interesting enough to take note of to see how it turns out. The fact that this story takes place in New Orleans makes it even better for the culture and for the story itself, since the fact that the vampires in this story have an origin story that actually feels justified in a few ways, even though the lead vampire ends up becoming what he hated so much in the beginning. It’s interesting to see how this happens, as hate becomes something that consumes a person from the inside out and turns them into something they might not have otherwise been. There’s a great deal of history in this movie as well as passion on a level that needs to be recognized, but it’s fair to say that the humor and even some of the acting makes it a little less enjoyable since it doesn’t mesh quite as well.
The overall idea is great, and while some might say that it has a kind of Lost Boys feel to it, the truth is that this movie feels more like Attack the Block with vampires, or even a beginning of The Purge with vampires, since New Orleans appears to be crawling with them, and they’re not shy about who they take. But when they target Shawna’s mother, as well as Shawna, this young woman decides to take matters into her own hands. The funny thing is that she knows next to nothing about vampires, save what she’s learned in the movies no doubt. And like any other vampire movie, there are differences in this movie, but there are many similarities, such as the aversion to sunlight, the vulnerability of a stake to the heart, and the allergy to garlic, which are taken in a different direction in this movie since garlic salt is seen to be a huge irritant to these vampires, and there’s a serious delay between the moment that they’re staked and when they turn to dust.
Plus, there’s the fact that they issue a seriously disturbing shout before they explode into dust, which is kind of odd, but also different enough that it works in its way. The movie is one of those that one can easily state is enjoyable as an entertaining tale, but it kind of veers away from its main point now and then for a moment of comedy, drama, and even romance. One could claim that such moments were all well and good since every movie needs a break now and then, but in this case, it kind of came off as hokey and even a little corny. But there is a strong core to the movie that keeps it bound together and moving forward as it focused on a culture, a location, and a sense of pride that comes from the homes of those that are the most involved in the story that can keep the audience interested and well aware that this story is worth the effort and can be enjoyed for the majority of the length.
That being said, if one thinks too hard about it there are plenty of holes that could derail this movie in short order, meaning that in some ways it does feel slapped together in an attempt to move past certain points in the story that might have benefited from a second or third look at a specific point. But to sit down and simply enjoy this movie for what it is and the message it sends isn’t too hard since it’s a fun horror movie that looks at a classic horror idea from an angle that a lot of people could probably get behind. Plus, New Orleans is always good for a story or three since the rich, cultural history of the place is a haven for a great number of tales that can make great use of the city’s background and also take on a more realistic and down to earth tone due to what the city has been through in its existence.
Vampire stories are, at times, a dime a dozen since from the fangs to the ‘creature of the night’ idea, many of them tend to be similar in a large number of ways that makes it tough to enjoy more than a few of them at a time. But while this movie does pull from the same tropes that have made other vampire movies great, it does take its own path and utilizes just enough historical context to make this story worth paying attention to. Plus, the fact that Keith David is in the movie makes things a little better since he’s almost always a fan favorite, and he does elevate the tale just a bit.