If painful obscurity and conspicuous ambiguity are modern art-house horror’s dooming curses, I’m happy to report that Bomani Story’s directorial debut couldn’t be more bereft of these follies. Subtlety of themes and their crucial accord with the events gladly take a backseat as The Angry Black Girl And Her Monster floods the screen with terror that inarguably will hit too close to home. It wages a humbling war on behalf of all those people from the Black community who’ve had their names intentionally mispronounced and their very existence villainized just for the abominable hell of it. Handing the hangman’s rope to the formidable heroine and placing her in a loving yet unimaginably tumultuous terrarium of sorts, the film doesn’t just point you to the wrongs of the wrongdoers but looks them straight in the eyes as it does so.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘The Angry Black Girl And Her Monster’?
The closely knit community of Black people, as overabundant with love as it is overcome with systemic failures, holds an eerie secret. The secret is safely kept between young Vicaria and the corpse, invoking “The Modern Prometheus” by Mary Shelley. Happily displeasing and vexing her “white folks” school’s sickeningly racist teacher, Vicaria is an astonishing inventor through and through. But the fire that keeps her penchant for science alive is rather ominous. Death has been an unwanted guest in her life ever since a random bullet made her mother take her last breath and gang violence took her brother Chris from her. Vicaria has long been the helpless spectator of some intentionally inflicted and some successive destruction of the people that make up her community, the fabric of their very existence, and the culture they’ve treasured for ages. Yet, there are her things devotedly keeping her from perishing. The sense of love and acceptance she is showered with by Aisha, Chris’ grieving girlfriend, vastly overshadows the conflicts between their personal politics. Even though the loss of his son has submerged him in an ocean of pain and the lingering feeling of incompetence, and he’s been seeking comfort in the nonjudgmental embrace of narcotics, Donald is a superhero when it comes to protecting his daughter.
How Does Vicaria Resurrect Her Brother?
Being hailed “The Body Snatcher” and “The Mad Scientist” is inevitable for Vicaria, especially because she happens to be both. Upholding the honor her community has been stripped of, there’s but one way she can fight back—finding a cure for death. Story’s debut sensibly juxtaposes Vicaria’s justified angst and her rage against institutional abuse with Aisha’s politics. Unlike Vicaria, who fights back with her morbid science, challenging nature itself to a duel, Aisha’s fervid politics passionately scrubs off any stain of racial ignorance around her—and that includes making impressionable kids aware of Christopher Columbus’ outrageous truth. The Angry Black Girl And Her Monster is disquietingly felicitous in the way it peppers the conflicts that, even though seen through a surreal lens more often than not, are emphatically relevant. The numbing identity and social crisis that befall a community when they’re systematically given far less than the bare minimum is daunting in Kango’s drug dynasty.
When you’ve been made to feel unwelcome and downright kicked out of the ports that claim to prop up civilized privileges, and the chants of your supposed evil have become an earworm, you’ve hardly any choice but to accept that you’re not worthy. The drugs and the stray bullets are just the symptoms of a bigger, more fatal disease: being forced to embrace your primal, most animalistic instincts. So when the jolts of the defibrillator fail, and the light goes out of a little kid’s eyes, Vicaria knows what to do to bring her brother back to life. Chris’ grisly rebirth, drawing the energy of the entire neighborhood, is a warm, although grim, metaphor for the sacrifices an abused community makes in the hopes of supporting one another. Yet, like all things impulsive, the Frankensteinian man’s discongruity with the identity that’s long been buried and rejected lands Vicaria in a world of crushed skulls and throats.
‘The Angry Black Girl And Her Monster’ Ending Explained
Daringly straightforward socioeconomic symbols and humbling racial discourses grow like wildflowers in the bloodied landscape of Bomani Story’s brave surrealistic horror. Because, the fact is, no amount of mushed-up brains and clots of blood and tissue reddening the floors is as terrifying as the hell Vicaria and her people are made to live in. The shockingly nuanced portrayal of the same is hosted by Kango, the ruthless drug dealer who doesn’t mind killing, hurting, and abusing as long as he gets to put food on the table. He’s been battered and broken by the world long enough to be unbothered by the pain that he endures and also that which he causes. He’s so estranged from the privileges of knowing right from wrong that he sees nothing wrong with making a minor deal for him with the looming threat of Jamaal’s machete slicing her head off her shoulders.
Albeit quietly, the deep-rooted misogyny and the easily bruised masculine ego in Vicaria’s community are recurrently addressed in the film. From Aisha teaching the little boy a lesson for hurling an inherently sexist slur at a little girl to Jamaal’s concern for the bashed-up Curtis being overtaken by the feeling that his manhood has been put to shame by Vicaria’s “monster,” the subtle conversations surrounding internalized patriarchy are hard to miss. Yet, interestingly, the antagonist in The Angry Black Girl And Her Monster is so far from the traditional expectations of someone like him that your heart aches for someone as vicious as Kango. It takes an innate and appreciable amount of self and social awareness for Kango to know that he isn’t just selling narcotics. He’s selling a volatile embrace of comfort for the community, for which seeking help from a mental health professional is a pipe dream—and that includes Vicaria’s father.
Although her initial response is fear, it doesn’t take Vicaria too long to realize why her resurrected brother is leaving a trail of bodies behind. Even without knowing practically anything about how Chris was when he was alive, the impression that’s made by Vicaria’s love for her brother and Aisha’s devotion to her boyfriend, neither of whom would ever accept being treated with unkindness, paints a likable picture of the man. It would be rather indolent to chalk the current Chris’ violent impulses up to morbid resurrection and a subsequent lack of sentience. The Angry Black Girl And Her Monster isn’t a film to shy away from calling out the systemic prejudice that atrociously demonizes an innocent man for the color of his skin long enough to make him say “to hell with it” and accept the imposed identity. What was born in Vicaria’s gloomy basement was a child in a body consisting of the flesh, skin, and bones of his fallen brethren, crying out for his father, hoping the world outside would be kind enough to lead him back home.
What Chris’ impressionable, overwhelmed mind was then subjected to was instinctive fear and police brutality that had him flat on the ground before he could utter a word, not that that would’ve stopped the degenerates from trying to crush his bones. If all you’ve ever heard is that you’re a monster, there comes a point when you wear the skin of one. Chris’ subversion from what he was meant to be made him wreak unimaginable havoc, killing Jada’s entire family and his own brother. When all ends fail, and there’s only disappointment to be found in the ones who were supposed to protect you, your community is all you’re left with. And for Vicaria and Kango, coming together and putting an end to Chris’ bloodbath was of far greater importance than any conflict that made them each other’s nemesis. What The Angry Black Girl And Her Monster ends with is a flicker of hope in a black hole of pain and chaos. Not everyone is as far gone as Chris. And the little bud of joy and hope that grows within Aisha is all that Vicaria wishes to save as she strives to focus even with a cracked pair of glasses—a fitting metaphor for how violence and prejudices against people attempt to blur the road ahead in hopes that they’ll never find the way to excel. As long as the Vicarias of the world don’t stop dreaming, evil hasn’t won the war.