Bad Hair Review

The film is campy and creepy, yet not entertaining enough

Aparnna Hajirnis -

Bad Hair Review

What is the story about?

The story is set in 1989 and is based on a young African-American woman who is trying to fit in a culture that rewards mostly white people and with certain physical attributes. Her boss asks her to get a hair weave in order to look more presentable for the music industry and be able to land her dream. She visits a hair weaving specialist and after a long, painful session gets shiny and straight hair. However, she soon realises that her hair has a mind of its own and needs a steady supply of fresh blood in order to be tamed. How she manages to deal with her 'horror' hair forms the crux of the story.

Analysis

Justin Siemien like his first feature 'Dear White People' wants to make a commentary about Black Culture. 'Bad Hair' masquerading as a comedy and a horror film, subtly puts forth the problems Black women face when it comes to conforming to beauty standards. Eurocentric beauty standards have been used across the globe and any digression has been looked down upon by the entertainment and beauty industry. 'Bad Hair' is a social commentary on both beauty standards and the prevalent white culture in the media. It also holds a mirror to society to the way Black people are treated in the workplaces.

However, when you strip away the politics of the film, there is nothing worth watching. The execution of the horror plot falls flat miserably. Any moments of terror and horror are stripped away by the comedy and plot twists. Also, there are so many characters in the film that it feels more like a series than a movie. By the end of the 1 hour 55 minutes film, you realise you are left with way too many loose ends and that the film has ended abruptly and you are left with a lot of questions about the script. The final 15 minutes of the film makes you wonder if you are seeing a spoof on horror films or if it is indeed a standalone horror film. 

 

Performances

Elle Lorraine plays the titular role of Anna, the girl with the murderous hair. Lena Waithe, Laverne Cox and Blair Underwood have smaller yet noticeable roles Anna's colleague, the mystique stylist and mythology-obsessed uncle, respectively. However, the real star of the movie is Vanessa Williams who plays Zora, the manipulative and catty boss of Anna. There are a lot of shades of Wilhemina in Zora. Like Wilhemina from Ugly Betty, Zora is also mean and channels her inner vamp. 
 

Music & Other Departments

The best part about movies set in the 1980s is the music. The movie has a very campy feel to it thanks to the retro tracks that play in the backdrop.  The style of filmmaking too is akin to the way films were made back in the 1980s. Although, for a movie that is 2 hours long it could have been shorter by a few minutes and needed crisper editing. 

 

Highlights

The movie has several cultural and political statements to offer.

Drawbacks

The runtime of the film is too long. Also, the fact of how people are killed for laughs just seems too ridiculous and silly. 
 

Did I enjoy it?

For someone who loves comedy and horrors, this film seemed clearly confused. It had way too many ideas cramped up and the execution clearly failed. The movie in parts is campy and creepy, but it isn't entertaining enough.

Do I recommend it?

This movie has a social message to give, so watch it for that. Apart from that, it is really silly.


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