STREAM QUEEN: Black horror, sharks, and an exorcist

There was just one winner for me in my latest marathon of three movies.


From the director of all the Sharknado movies comes a shark movie that wants to be taken seriously but is riddled with asinine moments like something out of Sharknado. Dude, just give us another Sharknado.

A straight couple is on vacation. A thief tries but fails to steal the woman’s purse.

The thief ends up on a boat with some other people. A shark comes along and just eats them all right off this big boat, yet the thief gets away on a lifeboat.

Meanwhile, the couple goes scuba diving and gets attacked by the shark, which torpedoes their big boat and capsizes it.

She hits her head and goes blind. He gets bit by the shark and is now useless…although his sweet little booty is still working overtime.

Their effort to get to a small, deserted island takes up a good chunk of the movie. Once there, they then have to try to get off the island…at which point the shark returns.

The shark is mostly CGI, the lead guy has a hot bod, but it feels like his dialogue has been dubbed, and the main girl ignoring his plea to just get on the fucking boat near the end is so infuriating I wanted her to die. And that’s just one of a series of dumb ass decisions she makes in like the last ten minutes of the movie.


The cool news about The Pope’s Exorcist? It uses a handful of 80s alternative songs for a soundtrack:

“She Sells Sanctuary” The Cult

“We Care A Lot” Faith No More

“Gone Daddy Gone” Violent Femmes

“(I’m) Stranded” The Saints

Also cool? The kid who plays the possessed boy looks like he’s having a blast doing it.

Everything else is mostly a clone of The Exorcist. There’s way too much religious crap (I know…the title should have tipped me off), and Russell Crowe plays a real life priest who used to perform exorcisms for the Vatican.

It’s hard to take any of this seriously, and by the final battle, I felt like I stepped into some sort of bombastic comic book adaptation about a superhero exorcist—while watching a movie based on an actual person.

The film begins with Crowe performing a faux exorcism and brutally sacrificing a pig in the process. WTF?

As he argues with the Vatican over his unorthodox ways, a woman inherits an abbey after the death of her husband. While it’s being restored and renovated, she moves in with her rebellious teen daughter and her young son.

The movie speeds up the whole first part of The Exorcist. The kid is quickly possessed, quickly gets an MRI and other testing, and the mother quickly calls Crowe.

After that, it’s like I said—the possessed kid is loads of fun if you’re just itching for the usual demonic possession zaniness, and the rest feels like an exorcism movie on autopilot—spider crawl, writing on kid’s belly, demon claiming to have encountered the priest before, etc. It has been 50 years since The Exorcist was released, and I still say just watch The Exorcist again instead.


Considering conservatives had a fit over a show called Black-ish, if you see them commenting on or reviewing a film titled The Blackening anywhere online and screaming about it being woke, you know they are just looking to troll and play victim. Personally, I wish the film hadn’t been titled The Blackening because the tagline “we can’t all die first” is way better for a Black slasher–and appears to be about 4 times bigger than the actual title on the poster art.

It starts off strong, with a couple at a cabin in the woods waiting for their friends to arrive for a Juneteenth celebration. They find a game called “The Blackening”. It asks them pop culture questions and warns that if they answer wrong, they die. You can imagine how that turns out.

Next, the rest of the group shows up, and among them are Bernard’s boyfriend Hector of The Upshaws (playing gay here as well, landing this one on the does the gay guy die? page), and Grace Byers of Empire.

The lights go out, they find the game, and they begin playing. The plot unfolds sort of like a comedic Saw movie with plenty of playful commentary on race, black-on-black discrimination, conservatives, a Black woman, queers, and many more current day issues.

We even get Diedrich Bader as the token white character (named Ranger White), and a little dig at the whole Friends/Living Single controversy. If you’re really white and take offense to hearing any satire on your white-centric world, this isn’t the movie for you.

We have a masked killer, and there’s even a moment when one guy borrows a line from Stu from Scream: “I’m feeling a little woozy here”. You have no idea how often I quote that line to my hubby.

The only disappointments I have with the film are that a) the weapon of choice is a crossbow, and b) the body count is low. However, I imagine the low body count is intentional, as it plays into the satire about Black people never lasting in a horror movie.


About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at
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