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The inoffensive

Phobias is an ambitious horror project that tries to mix a traditional narrative with an anthology setup. It's an interesting idea, but I guess it turned out to be a little too ambitious as the result felt more than a little confused and unbalanced. And not in the way a good anthology accomplishes.

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Each short handles a different phobia (it would've been nice if explanations were listed with the titles, especially since these aren't the most common phobias), though few are actually relevant to the phobia they are dealing with. The wrap-around segment tries to tie everything together, but fails to make it cohesive.

The problem with Phobias is that there isn't enough of a difference between the different shorts, which is one of the key reasons why I love anthologies. By themselves the shorts are pretty decent, but they're all a bit samey. At the same time the continuous interruptions make it more difficult to get into the main narrative. Would've worked better as either a stand-alone narrative or a more focused and detached anthology. But if you're looking for some solid horror film, Phobias is pretty solid.

Worthy but flawed

Black as Night

2021 / 87m - USA
Black as Night poster

Prime's collaborations with Blumhouse haven't been too successful so far. Their horror films come off pretty juvenile and rushed, sporting some interesting ideas but lacking the proper talent and execution to make them stand out. Black as Night is no exception, there's a fun horror film in here somewhere, but it struggles to come out.

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Shawna is a young girl living in New Orleans. She likes to hang around with her friend Pedro during the summer holidays, but this summer's going to be different. There are vampires in town, and when they get to Shawna's mom, she's out for revenge. Together with a bunch of other kids, she's ready to take on a local vampire coven.

Black as Night is pleasantly self-aware and there are some compelling alternate takes on vampire lore, but the film's a bit too childish and doesn't really deliver on its horror premise. The vampires are a bit dull, the gore is largely absent and having a bunch of kids take on vampires isn't all that exciting either. It's not a horrible film, just a bit too mediocre and safe.