Combustible Celluloid
With: Regina Hall, Zoe Renee, Amber Gray, Ella Hunt, Talia Ryder, Talia Balsam, Bruce Altman
Written by: Mariama Diallo
Directed by: Mariama Diallo
MPAA Rating: R for language and some drug use
Running Time: 98
Date: 03/18/2022

Master (2022)

3 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Mariama Diallo's Master is something of a horror film, with a thesis on Blackness in America; it's not as expertly realized and as effortlessly terrifying as Get Out, but it's still very much worth a look. The film cuts back and forth between the stories of two characters: Gail Bishop (Regina Hall), the first-ever Black master of the elite university Ancaster, and Jasmine Moore (Zoe Renee), a Black freshman. Jasmine is assigned to dorm room 302, which is believed to be haunted; another Black student in the 1960s hung herself there. Jasmine suffers mysterious attacks (a noose on her door, etc.) and, try as she may, can't quite get along with her white roommate and her friends. A teacher, Liv Beckman (Amber Gray), starts giving Jasmine bad grades for no discernible reason. Gail, meanwhile, is trying to get Liv tenured, adding some diversity to the all-white staff, and faces maggot trouble in her on-campus housing. The details don't always flow together, and the horror stuff doesn't fully pay off, but it's not hard to get the point.

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