‘Masters’ Review – Sundance 2022

  • Alex Kelly

You don’t need the supernatural to have an effective scary movie. 

The directorial debut from Mariama Diallo, Masters follows three Black women at the beginning of the new semester at Ancaster University, a small college set on a haunted hill in the middle of the nondescript Northeast. 

Led by Regina Hall as Professor Gail Bishop, the movie sets out to include a horror aspect that doesn’t add anything to the overall story and bogs down the momentum it tries to pick up from the performance of Hall, as well as Zoe Renee who plays the tortured Jasmine Moore. Jasmine is one of the only students of color on the predominantly white campus, and Renee very deftly shows the pain her character goes through as she spirals deeper and deeper throughout the semester. 

Yet, the performances do not mask the overall problems with this script, as there are far too many confusing aspects that are dropped in randomly throughout the movie and then just completely forgotten about. A major revelation is made about Bishop’s newly tenured friend Amber Gray, played by Liv Beckham, and is almost immediately swatted away. 

While a final monologue by Hall presents a compelling angle to the ghosts in the room, it is not enough to cover up the subpar plot throughout and is a film that had potential but could not execute overall. 

Rating: 5/10

Alex is a movie lover and co-host of the Furloughed Film Talks Podcast. You can find him and his podcast on Twitter @alexfkelly1

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