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Review: The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster (2023)

The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster (2023)

Directed by: Bomani J. Story

Premise: A brilliant teenager (Laya DeLeon Hayes) living in a housing project reanimates the corpse of her deceased brother who then raises havoc in the neighborhood.  

What Works: The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster is a lightly disguised reworking of Frankenstein. Fans of Mary Shelley’s book and its many film adaptations ought to be pleased by this version which acknowledges the source material and is relevant to its themes while doing something fresh with the concept. Frankenstein stories require a compelling mad scientist and The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster has an extraordinary lead performance by Laya DeLeon Hayes. She exudes intelligence and charisma and Hayes’ performance makes the conceit credible. The filmmakers of The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster reimagine Frankenstein through a specifically Black lens and race and socio-political reality inform this retelling. Hayes’ character has lost her family members to violence and her father is a drug user. Her insistence on defying death is really about fighting a culture that has devalued life. That idea can be found in the contrast between the horror and some tender and even funny domestic scenes between the neighbors and family members. The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster is handsomely produced. The movie has great production values and the scenes of the monster’s creation recall the classic Universal monster pictures.

What Doesn’t: The greatest weakness of The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster is the titular creature. Most versions of Frankenstein make the monster sympathetic and a few don’t but the problem with this film is the monster’s absence. He disappears from the story for long periods of time and is not really characterized. The film misses one of the key appeals of the Frankenstein story: the relationship between the monster and his creator. At one point the monster of this film kills a police officer near the housing project. The murder ought to spike police presence and raise the stakes but very little comes of it.

Disc extras: None.

Bottom Line: The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster is a fun and intelligent reworking of the Frankenstein story. This is an impressive addition to the canon of Frankenstein adaptations distinguished by Bomani J. Story’s direction and Laya DeLeon Hayes’ performance.

Episode: #970 (October 22, 2023)