Labels should be used for products like canned vegetables and stereotyping should be used for elements like the weather. There is no useful purpose using either of these on human beings. Keep in mind I believe in calling things as I see them; in other words, I have no problem referring to someone as ornery (how often do you get to hear this word?), or some other adjective if indeed that is how they are acting. But to label or stereotype someone based on where their ancestors were born, their skin color or their religion is simply wrong. Before my first name was common, when I told someone my name, there were times they would immediately ask me if I practiced a certain religion. I would be perplexed, trying to understand how they made that leap from my name, which by the way is the name of a river, a food item and a sports figure; to a religion. You see they were making an assumption without even knowing me. The same thing could be said whenever we were picking sides for a sports activity in school. Because I used to be larger I was usually one of the last ones picked to be on someone’s team. No one realized including me that I had one of the fastest throwing arms among the players. Literally, it was years before I was even given a ball to throw and then everyone was stunned at my speed and accuracy. All of this due to me not looking what people felt an athletic person should look like, thanks to stereotyping. JUDGEMENTS were multiplying throughout this comedic drama about the students of an Ivy League college. Stereotyping and labeling students based on their skin color was the norm in this satirical story. A film festival winner, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Some of the cast members were Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris-TV, Unaccompanied Minors) as Lionel Higgins, Tessa Thompson (For Colored Girls, When a Stranger Calls) as Sam White, Kyle Gallner (Jennifer’s Body, A Nightmare on Elm Street) as Kurt Fletcher and Teyonah Parris (How Do You Know, Mad Men-TV) as Colandrea “Coco” Conners. Everyone did a fine job, partly because of the smartly written script. I found conversations to be authentic even when it was obvious the scene was lampooning a stereotype. The director kept the story moving forward at a steady pace. While watching this picture I was curious how true some of the scenes were for the writer/director because the satire was spot on. Though this was a fun film to watch and I had no complaints, there was a little bittersweetness for me at the end, realizing there will be some people who will watch this movie and not get the joke.
As you may know I am not a major fan of the horror film genre. Part of the reason has to do with the characters that are employed for the story. I do not find zombies, mutants, vampires or any other such fictional beings to be inherently frightening. Sure their actions may make me squirm in my seat; however, I find reality can be scarier than fiction. When riding public transportation I no longer have my cell phone or MP3 player visible. When there is snow and ice on the road I am scared of aggressive drivers who cut in front or tailgate me, making no allowances for winter conditions. There is another group of people that truly frighten me. Individuals with fanatical, extreme views make me uncomfortable. I have witnessed their hateful actions. As far as they are concerned if you do not follow their beliefs then you are damned. For me this is scarier than any horror movie I have seen until now. In this film festival winning movie, writer and director Kevin Smith (Clerks franchise, Chasing Amy) put his own spin in creating this horror tale. After setting up an online date to meet Sara, played by Melissa Leo (Prisoners, The Fighter); friends Travis, Jarod and Billy Ray, played by Michael Angarano (Almost Famous, Sky High), Kyle Gallner (Jennifer’s Body, Beautiful Creatures) and Nicholas Braun (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Watch), headed out to meet her for a good time. The boys did not know Sara was part of a radical fundamentalist group that was on the radar of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. This action thriller surprised me with the way it took something that could have easily been in the news and twisted it to a bigger extreme. Besides having the very capable Melissa Leo easily handling her character, I felt the movie received a boost by the presence of John Goodman (Argo, Inside Llewyn Davis) as federal agent Joseph Keenan. If you believe people could not be so extreme with their beliefs then you might not enjoy this action thriller. I found the story credible and could see it taking place, though maybe not to the level it reached; at least I hope so. As a complete film I found a few parts that did not make much sense; maybe it was trying to be satirical and I was not sure. For the fact this was a different take on the horror genre, it kept my interest even with several bloody scenes. Putting the idea for this story in proper perspective, one only has to take a look at our history of the past several decades. I cannot think of any recent horror film that would be scarier than encountering some of the characters in this bloody movie.
2 1/4 stars — DVD