DIRECTED BY JUSTIN SIMIEN. HULU.
SOMETIMES, A TERRIBLE MOVIE reminds me to cherish the films that accomplish what they set out to do—or, at least, the ones that seem to be having fun in the process of attempting to. But Bad Hair was such an excruciating cinematic experience that I started to wonder if this whole motionpicture business maybe wasn’t a good idea from the jump. I have reviewed my share of cinematic failures this year, but Bad Hair is the most stunning floundering of filmmaking in 2020—a failure of empathy, intellect, and morality that I haven’t been able to shake.
Writer, director, and producer Justin Simien made a bold proclamation in a pretaped segment that aired before Hulu’s drive-in Bad Hair premiere in October. “Bad Hair is a very weird love letter to Black women and the unparalleled power they possess to endure and persevere. It’s my satirical horror love letter. Is that a thing? I guess we’re making it a thing.” After seeing the film, I’d say no. Regardless, the statement is instructive, foreshadowing the film’s intent: Can a campy horror film about Black women’s relationship to their hair translate onto the screen? Perhaps, but it would require a nimble filmmaker with a strong vision to pull it off.
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