Following the social satire of Dear White People, writer-director Justin Simien returns for another story only he could tell with Bad Hair, a horror film about a black woman’s hair that takes on a life of its own. In a teaser trailer for the upcoming film premiering on Hulu, Elle Lorraine plays Anna Bludso, a “tender-headed” young woman who gets more than she bargains for after visiting her local beauty shop for hair extensions that promise “magic” for the wearer.
Bad Hair premiered to mixed reviews at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where Hulu acquired the film for distribution on October 23. The film costars Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty), Jay Pharoah (Saturday Night Live), Lena Waithe (The Chi), Blair Underwood (Quantico), Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black), Kelly Rowland (Freddy vs. Jason), Usher (Hustlers) and James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek).
In the new clip, Anna undergoes an extremely painful salon appointment to get the extensions woven into her hair, only for them to take over her head, and seemingly, her personality. After they seem to take on a life of their own, Anna’s father Amos (Underwood) observes how hair is integral to the identity of black women, and how it forms the connective tissue between their contemporary identities and the legacies of women from which they followed and descended.
As with Dear White People, a film - and later, a series for Netflix - focused on a collegiate community of people of color wrestling with their identities in an academic environment too often defined by whiteness, Bad Hair promises not only to offer new insights using the language of a familiar subgenre. Though it follows in the footsteps of trailblazing and deeply personal horror stories like Jordan Peele’s Get Out and Us, Simien’s story promises a unique vision and viewpoint that helps redefine horror as we know it while expanding the canon of horror films created and authored by filmmakers and storytellers of color.
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