Director: Joe West, Julien Christian Lutz, Zandashe Brown, Rob Greenlea, Robin Givens, Kimani Ray Smith
Writer: Steven Barnes, Ezra Claytan Daniels, Tananarive Due, Shernold Edwards, Victor LaValle, Al Letson (Screenplay)
Starring: Lesley-Ann Brandt, Peter Stormare, Tony Todd, Lenora Crichlow, Malcolm Barrett, Rachel True, Sean Patrick Thomas
Plot: Presents together six horror stories from Black directors and screenwriters in a single film: “Daddy,” “Bride Before You,” “Brand of Evil,” “The Lake,” “Sundown” and “Fugue State”.
Runtime: 2 Hours 32 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Thoughts on Horror Noire
Daddy – Daddy starts as we meet the family with young James constantly wanting to explore, while an elderly man warns his father Red to watch over him. As Red tries to get closer to his son, he builds him a special fort, but when James starts seeing a stranger in the window, he looks to find answers from his own past about who the visitor might be. This might well be one of the weaker stories of the selection, it has potential to have more, but never dives into the true horror that could be put in place. 2/5
Bride Before You – Bride Before You starts when a rich couple move into a luxury home away from where their ancestors would have been picking cotton, Mr Clay is desperate to have a baby with her husband Mrs Clay turning to a black magic to get pregnant. While the child brings the family together, the house is caught up with a creaking for decades as their child Cornelius grows up to get married himself. Bride Before You is one of the most interesting of the stories, set in a era where there would have been a deeper race divide, showing us how one woman will see her life turned upside down by reputation. 4/5
Brand of Evil – Brand of Evil starts when artist Nekani is preparing for the latest project, a mural, one that is being created to raise a large amount of money for the foodbank. When Nekani receives a mysterious phone call, wanting him to design a logo for a large amount of money, seeing it as easy work. With the job done, Nekani gets a new offer, one for double the money, but Nekani doesn’t know the cost of these designs, as the people around him start disappearing. Brand of Evil is a story that will show how growing reputation can see you sell your soul, it is the deep dive into how Nekami is caught between helping himself, or helping his neighbourhood. When it comes to where the horror comes from, we see how the splatter gets bought into the world, away from the artist style behind Nekami. 4/5
The Lake – The Lake starts when a teacher Abbie moves to a remote lake house to start a new life, she is given a warning, not to swim in the lake, but goes against them. Abbie starts to see a change in her body and eating habits, with her past also starting to catch up with her, she finds herself unsure of what will happen in her life next. This is a story that will dive into legends create around a town, showing how someone new can ignore the warnings, where the generation that have only heard the stories, will learn the truth. This is a nice opening story, one that has moments of dread, but never dives into the deeper side of things. 3/5
Sundown – Sundown starts as Marcus and Shanita campaigning for a political figure in West Virginia, looking to help make a change in the area. As the campaigners look to finish off their work, they regroup to learn the town is a sundown town, one that still forbids black people going out at night. The campaigners find themselves trapped in the town as night falls, which is only the beginning of the nightmare, as the town’s people operate at night, seeing them needing to fight for their lives. Sundown brings the series of stories to an end with a bang, diving into the most chaotic story going on, one that has the more notorious horror side of things, with the vampire side seeing the chaotic hunt going on. 5/5
Fugue State – Fugue State starts as we meet the journalist couple Arthur & Charlotte who are both working on major stories, Arthur on uncovering the truth about a religious cult known as the Third Way, while Charlotte is looking into the story about string of attacks by red faced killers. After Arthur has visited the church, he starts to change, leading to the family changing as the worry grows in from __ wanting to save her husband from a change he is going through. This is a nice horror, one that will dive into the cult transformation going on and needing to stop it before it is too late. 3/5
Final Thoughts – Horror Noire is a great selection of horror shorts, with each bringing a different horror idea to life.