Hair Wolf

****1/2

Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Hair Wolf
"Something truly delightful."

My feminist horror will be intersectional or not at all. Hair Wolf is very good, for my tastes the strongest of a very strong selection of shorts screened by Final Girls at 2019's Glasgow Film Festival.

It's not a traditional home for shorts - they've been hived off to the sprawlingly bijoux GSFF for a while now - but dates lined up and the 2019 tour hit Glasgow at the same time as the festival's surprise movie.

Hair Wolf is more surprising. Not that it's good - the variety in quality in Final Girls' selection is that some are great and some pale only in comparison - but how cheerfully inventive it is. I was minded of the gleeful indulgences of Sorry To Bother You, of the madness of WolfCop, of the driving dooms of Double Date, of Chris Rock's 2009 Documentary Good Hair. I had afore me conjured the Stepford wives by way of Instagram, accursed yogic magicks in the form of elasticated trousers, window-tapping creatures of pale hues muttering "braaaaaids."

Get Out leveraged horror movie tropes, well executed, to explore the black experience, and vice versa. So too Hair Wolf, in a smaller space (both chronologically and physically), with a smaller budget, but perhaps with ambition no less vaulting. With excellent production design, costume design, hair design, a cast possessed of good chemistry, subverting expectations including those of genre, and producing something truly delightful.

Mariama Diallo writes, directs, she's currently working on Terence Nance's series Random Acts Of Flyness and as is always the case with the best short films I can only hope this achievement serves as a springboard for her talents.

I'll confess to a touch of unease at the notion of photographs that might affect the soul, but that's my interpretation - the film's open to others, which is part of its strength. There is plenty supernatural that stretches belief, but through implicature and technical nous (I cannot in good faith let a film set in a hairdressing establishment go without referring to quick cuts) it creates something that not only looks good but feels good.

Reviewed on: 15 Mar 2019
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In a black hair salon in gentrifying Brooklyn, the local residents fend off a strange new monster: white women intent on sucking the lifeblood from black culture.

Festivals:

Sundance 2018

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