POC I'm Watching: Golden Brooks

What might stand out for people is the almost all-black cast. Producer Effie Brown says the film was designed to be "universal", in that although the family is black it is not a "black movie" and can appeal to everyone -- the theme of a group of people stranded somewhere facing death is a common horror motif. And Brown is right -- although the background to the story ties in to slavery, there is nothing about this film that would alienate the audience due to race. Interestingly, this had been a concern of the marketing department, and hence the figure on the cover was made racially ambiguous.

For those who really find watching a film with black people uncomfortable, the inclusion of the white couple, with their cracks about black people, snow and barbecue, should help smooth things over for you. But if that is what you need to survive the film, I am not sure what it says about you.


~ gavin6942, a reviewer by way of IMDB
When I stumbled across The Inheritance (2011), I was so glad to see that the eternally fabulous Golden Brooks was still doing her thing.

And then...I saw.


This film had a wonderful premise and a gripping opening sequence. After that, I don't know what the hell happened, but writer & directer Robert O'Hara sure has some explaining to do.  Because after the opening sequence, this film wasn't even worth screencapping.  And I have feeling it won so many "Black" awards simply because the annoying white couple gets taken out in the first fifteen minutes (though the man doesn't exactly die), and from then on, the entire cast is Black.  But to Moi, where HollyWTF is concerned, having a predominantly to all-POC main cast is merely the first step.  In this country, a film should not get a gold star just for that.

Reportedly, whoever did the marketing was "concerned" about having so many Negroes in the film that the movie poster was designed to be "racially ambiguous" so [white] people wouldn't dismiss it out of hand.  Behold the resulting train wreck:


So let me get this straight.  You've got a horror movie whose admittedly clever premise stems from the slavery era here in America...but you want to make [white] audience members "comfortable" enough to watch it.

Not gonna happen.

If you ask me, aggressive marketing and hype are the enemies of art, because they demand that in order to achieve maximum sales, artists must compromise the integrity of their creations.  If they're a musician, they've got slap on some auto-tune and a generic techno beat to get anywhere in the modern world.  If they're a filmmaker, they've got to focus on special effects, rather than characterization and dialogue.  And if they're a writer, they've got to water down their own story so that folks with low tolerance will want to take a sip.  My theory for this movie's failure, if you haven't already guessed, is that O'Hara made the error of aiming for a "universal narrative."  Once again, ladies and gents, I maintain that there is no such narrative.

For pygmy's sake, say what you really want to say.  Find your target audience and give them what they want.  Having a dedicated cult following of a 1000 fans is much better than having 100,000 angry customers who want their time and money back, not to mention the what-the-fuck-were-you-thinking reviews which inevitably follow.  I mean, duh...if you try to please everybody, you won't please anybody.

And there was no excuse for this level of disappointment either.  The Inheritance appeared to have a decent budget, respectable production, and cast members to die for, including the pretty-eyed, delectable DB Woodside and the great, riveting Keith David...not to mention he-needs-to-have-sex-with-me-right-the-hell-now actor Lanre Idewu (Lawd hammercy).

Last, but most assuredly not least, this film was rife with colorism, very superficial gay rights activism, and the all-black cast sounded like all-white folks dipped in chocolate.  I have never heard Golden sound this nasally before, nor come off this sissified.  All the women where noticeably lighter than the men - even Golden Brooks was noticeably lightened.  Lilly (Rochelle Aytes), the lesbian, was the lightest and brightest and most femme of the crop*.  Considered a virgin by occult standards, despite being a grown-ass woman in a relationship, she's one of the first to die.  We never see her with her girlfriend, and her homosexuality is only referenced twice and for less than five seconds.  And by the way she "dances" at the beginning of the movie, you can tell her eye-candyness is clearly intended for a male audience's benefit.  *rolls eyes*

Needless to say, The Inheritance is a fail in the Land of Moi.  *shakes head*  I rented it from Netflix and now I want my money back.

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*I'm only pointing out how femme she is because while watching this film, I got the sense that her homosexuality was a last minute rewrite, as though O'Hara were attempting to be creative and clever somehow.  Why couldn't Golden Brooks be the bad-ass, unlightened lesbian heroine who whoops evil's ass?  Why did the only gay character have to die?

Comments

  1. Wow I never heard about this film before, I may check it out but that is highly unlikely.
    It has things I do not like to see, such as colorisim.

    All the women were lighter than the men? that reminds me of My Wife and Kids, when Jazz Raycole was replaced with Jennifer Freeman and Meagan Good was replaced by Brooklyn Sudano. And then they brought in the Vanessa's parents and the mum was light and Dad was dark. I remember thinking, WTF such a pattern.

    Also misrepresenting voodoo, when HollyWTF shows voodoo or any type of religion based from African beliefs they always get it wrong and always end up demonising it.

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  2. I think the fact that this is a 2011 we're both just now hearing about is very telling. Granted, we tend to be a bit cynical when "our" movies, but this film doesn't count. It was AWFUL.

    The darkest skinned women were the enslaved Africans we see in the flashbacks.

    Also misrepresenting voodoo, when HollyWTF shows voodoo or any type of religion based from African beliefs they always get it wrong and always end up demonising it.

    I was particularly disappointed because this was a black writer pulling this shit. In the film we see that "the Elders" have kept their history, religion, and even language in tact from centuries before. But instead of their dedication to preserving their identity being the source of strength and virtue in this film, it's twisted into being the very evil driving the story.

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  3. From a marketing stand-point, it's as if few people in the field are willing to go off the well-paved path when it comes to promoting a product. If you write a story and get some measure of attention, sooner or later someone comes along telling you to dumb it down for 'mass-market appeal'. They never seem to go, "Well, I love what you have here...and I'm sure there are others out there who're hungry for something like this. I'll do my utmost to dig that niche out for you!". That rarely happens.

    I don't know if it's laziness, complacency, or both. I know that I'd rather get a few loyalists than a million wagonists.

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  4. I don't know if it's laziness, complacency, or both.

    Or greed. It's like the fast food of film-making; create something of low quality that most people will buy in a hurry. And even if they decide they hate it afterward, it's too late. No refunds.

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  5. This and Burning Palms are now available for streaming on Netflix. And both seem to have received mostly negative reviews. I will still check out Burning Palms to determine for myself if it's really that bad. And maybe I'll check this out before I end my Netflix subscription.

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  6. Have you seen Trick R' Treats? Although Rochelle doesn't play a very big role her part in the film is pretty cool. I highly recommend the film.

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  7. Well I certainly wasn't expecting a horror trailer. That was quite the surprise. Lol. I used to really hate horror movies but over the past year (where my interest in movies greatly diminished), I've began to enjoy them for what they are. Even though this is bad, I might still enjoy it, as I've been enjoying many crappy horror movies lately. I never heard of this until now though. I'm so behind with everything on film and TV lately.

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  8. Okay, I streamed it earlier today. While it wasn't as bad as I thought, I was still disappointed. The white couple was really unnecessary.

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