Writer-director Bomani J. Story gives us a new take on Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. But there’s more here than just another adaptation, it's a combination of the source material with the mirror held up to society and all its horrors. Death is a disease that can be cured. That is what the lead character, Vicaria (Laya DeLeon Hayes), believes. She is a brilliant-minded teenager whose family has fallen victim to death over the years. Her mother was killed by a stray bullet, her brother was killed due to street violence and her father is not headed down a great path either. She feels empowered by the idea that she can bring someone back from death. It is with this core message that The Angry Black Girl and Her Monsterbegins.
Vicaria is an energetic teenager with ideas that can be off-putting to those around her, and with the kind of life she has lived and the rough urban setting she has grown up in, you can’t blame her for not receiving any guidance from those around her. By the end of the first act, Vicaria’s mad scientist ways have worked out, as she has revived her brother, and now clearly apparent that it is no longer who he once was but a grunting, immense creature that finds its way out of the laboratory. While it can be easy to look at these tropes and think it’s just another take on Frankenstein’s monster when in actuality it is a metaphor for black Americans who have died due to the system failing them. Therefore, the film’s protagonist must now rectify someone they have lost. There are other great moments of social commentary in the film. Like most horror films, an average moviegoer finds fear in the creature, when in actuality the real horrors of the film are children dying, tensions between police and people of color, and gang violence. The creature wears an oversized hoodie, which feels more like a statement for young black men who are portrayed as villains in the media than the acts of violence that are done against them. There are even smaller moments that still hold a lot of weight. Anyone who has ever had a “difficult” name to pronounce will feel their blood start to boil in an early scene with Vicaria and her teacher.
Although the film's loaded with great social commentary, it packs a punch with its gore. Blood and guts can be great fun in horror films. But you can tell that Bomani J. Story wants to pack an emotional punch with the violence and bloodshed. Rather than making it about shocking the audience, in the film, after violence is shown, there's a feeling of loss. There are quick cuts of Vicaria piecing the creature together in her workshop. The sounds of flesh and blood being patched up can make you want to squirm, but at the same time, you don't want to look away.
Despite a lot of well-crafted horrific moments, the film falters. The creature isn't as prominent as you'd want it to be. In the end, The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster sets out what it needs to do; to scare you with a hulking monster and leave you thinking about the world around you.