This horror-comedy is a madcap film that takes the camping slasher film and amps it with 80’s madness, tropes, and crazy insane deaths.
It’s the year 1989. LaQuita Johnston is an African American woman who is forced to start at her new school with a camping trip to Black Holler Woods. While is the only person of color, she does find friends in the nerdy Walter, who is constantly bullied by the likes of party hound Brett and his cheerleader girlfriend Megan; and emo goth Marty. The three are seen as outcasts amongst the elite high school status quo.
However, something mysterious begins to occur. The students are being picked off one by one by an unseen force. Even the chaperones eventually begin to fall prey to the force. As LaQuita tries to figure out what is going on, she is met with resistance at first. However, when she and Walter see two people get killed, they soon discover something shocking involving a long-lost artifact that grants its founder power. Will LaQuita be able to stop the terror that plagues Black Holler?
If you are in the mood for something fun, hilarious, and cheesy, look no further than this film. The writers knew what they were doing and while the film was made in 2017, it finally has some distribution. This is one of those films where fans of the horror-comedy who love cheap-budgeted films will ask, “why didn’t I see this earlier?” Because it is homage to the 1980s B-movie slasher films with a few nods to Blaxploitation and some of today’s female-centric action films.
The ensemble cast is great for what they have to work with. Tamiko Robinson Steele is wonderful as LaQuita, the only person of color with an all-white cast. She is reminiscent of Foxy Brown in terms of attitude and has a soft spot for bullied LGBTQ character Walter, played by Nicholas Hadden. And in flashbacks as well as a supporting character not involved in the chaos, we learn why LaQuita has a soft spot as she was adopted into a LGBTQ family with her dads teaching her both boxing and karate, which may come in handy if needed and even trains Walter in self-defense.
The film follows the tropes of typical characters in horror films, the emo goth girl, the love-crazed couple, the arrogant cheerleader, and the party-loving boyfriend. Now the last one mentioned has to get a major mention because this character, Brett, as a running gag for the film, is played by multiple actors. I don’t know if that will please everyone, but it is so damn funny! It is like watching The Masked Prosecutor in terms of turning your head and seeing another “mask” in the form of another actor here.
The kill scenes are both graphic at times and at times off-screen, but the reactions are funny at times. Especially the first death scene of the film, where an archaelogist’s wife mistakes blood for, well, let’s leave that to your imagination. One kill scene is insanely funny and the finale is even unexpectedly funny.
Black Holler is a fun wild horror comedy that looks to be a satire and homage to the 80’s slasher film mixed in with Blaxplotation and female-centric action films with a cast who know what they are doing and while this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, this reviewer thinks this is a good funny film.
WFG RATING: B
Wild Eye Releasing presents a Black Holler Production in association with Grand Prize Studios, Heidi the 13th Productions, Pudding Cloud Productions, and The Rest of the Show Design. Director: Jason Berg. Producer: Heidi Ervin. Writers: Heidi Ervin, Jason Berg, and Rachel Ward Heggen. Cinematography: Jason Berg. Editing: Chip Wilder.
Cast: Tamiko Robinson Steele, Nicholas Hadden, Sarah VanArsdal, Rachel Ward Heggen, Betty Williams, Bruce Ervin, Heidi rvin, J.R. Robles, SC.J. Stanley, Stacy Gazenski, Brian Russell, Lee McCue.