The film, which is part of the Welcome to the Blumhouse series, turns a new cultural lens on the vampire slayer tale.
When you summon up the image of a teenage vampire slayer, there’s a good chance the mental picture is a familiar one: blonde, bubbly, and white. But that vision is about to change with Black as Night, which drops on Amazon Prime today and introduces audiences to Shawna (Asjha Cooper), a teen girl fresh out of those awkward years and about to take on a pack of centuries old-vampires. As she sums up her situation at the movie’s outset, “the summer I got breasts, that was the same summer I fought vampires.”
In the film, Shawna discovers a vampire’s plot to take over New Orleans by preying on the city’s most vulnerable inhabitants. When this leads to a tragedy close to home, she sets out for revenge with the help of her best friend Pedro by her side. The movie is equal parts coming of age tale and an exploration of centuries of racial inequality in America, and how these earliest events directly link to present circumstances. It’s a horror film with a very clear political point of view and heart. But at its core is Shawna, a new type of heroine for our current era.