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Watch Now: Ari Aster's "The Strange Thing About The Johnsons" Is Short Film Gold

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by Emmanuel Akitobi
November 20, 2011 6:13 PM
77 Comments
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I woke up early this morning and did my usual web surfing before I had to head out, just like I do most Sunday mornings.  Still somewhat sleepy, I wasn't looking for anything in particular; just something entertaining enough to provide a slight jolt of energy.  What I actually found (on WorldStarHipHop.com, of all places--shout out to them), writer/director Ari Aster's The Strange Thing About The Johnsons, woke me the hell up.

From what I've been able to gather, this film has traveled the festival circuit for a while now, so it may be old news to some readers.  But if you're like me, and this is brand new to you, I promise you that you're in for a somewhat uncomfortable, yet thrilling piece of cinematic mastery.  Billy Mayo, Angela Bullock, Brandon Greenhouse, Carlon Jeffery, and Daniele Watts all give impressive performances in the film's lead roles.
 
Without giving away too much of the short film's story, I'll say that The Strange Thing About The Johnsons deals with an undoubtedly, mostly unheard-of dynamic of contemporary-family life.
 
Neither the writer/director, nor the creative team behind the film, are black (from what I can tell), but it has an all-black cast.  What's significant about that, you might ask?  Well, unlike films of a similar artistic and creative make-up that have come before The Strange Thing About The Johnsons,  this one doesn't have any racial dynamics in its plot.  This is color-blind casting at its finest, if you ask me.
 
Take a look at the trailer for The Strange Thing About The Johnsons before watching the film.  Then watch the film to see if its story turns out to be what you thought it would be.
 
UPDATE: S&A contacted the director, Ari Aster, and he answered a few of the question many readers had after watching The Strange Thing About The Johnsons.  Read his response HERE.
 

The Strange Thing About the Johnsons... speechless from Michael Roy on Vimeo.

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77 Comments

  • Chic | July 12, 2012 5:59 PMReply

    Can anyone tell me the link to the actual movie clip because it can't be good

  • Arthur | December 15, 2011 1:41 AMReply

    I don't understand how this was at all racist. If it was a white family used then people wouldn't have a problem with it at all, because it isn't possible to be racist toward whites. We forget that in our world today, colored people are just as common as whites, if not more-so in some places that used to have an abundance of white people. Molestation is unfortunately something that can happen to anyone of any color. So they picked a black family for this film, who gives a fuck? White people take on a lot of shitty roles in the movie industry because film makers are afraid that if they cast a black person for certain characters it'd come off as racist and unethical. Which is what you are all turning this into. You guys made a movie trying to portray such a deep and serious story line into a fucking debate about racist casting. I hate humanity.

  • natalie | January 25, 2012 6:39 PM

    I don't think the movie is racist but you maybe, calling African Amerisca colored as if we are still in the 1950's is a very racist comment.

  • Laura | January 17, 2012 2:46 AM

    FYI, you don't call black people colored. You change colors more than we do. I loved the movie, once you get past the skin crawling aspect of it, you can see the art. It is people with below average intelligence that can not see the film for what it is. It is a piece of dramatic art and the acting was very good. People are ignorant and you are write if the cast was all white nothing would be said.

  • reg | December 14, 2011 5:17 PMReply

    whooo! what an ordeal. that's not entirely a diss, tho'. like most others, i did think it was well made, but i can't help but wonder: to what purpose? i don't agree that this was a satire or intentionally comedic. if it was intended to be either of those things, it was an epic fail. it seemed to me to be melodrama in the same way that "precious" was a melodrama. i, too wondered why, if the filmakers weren't af-ams, they chose to portray af-ams in this project. racist? maybe, but that seems too easy a charge to level (isn't it always: ie, of course, they're racists [who ain't?], but what else is going on?) like a lot of short films, i kept wondering why this story is being told, and i think i would have wondered that whatever the color of the actors. indeed, it's an ODD story, period, in my view. so maybe the filmmakers thought: "wth, it's crazy anyway, why not use colored folks?" i thought the use of the term "monster" as applied to the son was very interesting in the context of lots of movies about "monstrous" offspring, but that sex is the arena of his horror is what makes this particularly icky. finally, as i say, i thought it was well-made, but for the last scene: the poker killing was not entirely persuasive. besides, the better ending would be for him to kill her. sad, but true.

  • Anonymous | December 13, 2011 11:06 AMReply

    Of course as being a black woman I initially want to be on the defense for my race, however that isn't what this movie is about. Growing up in a black home we are taught to keep our "business out the street" and to "mind our own business". I find the critical character to be the mother, she so badly wanted to maintain a picture perfect image that she ignored the blatant hell occurring in her own home. The son used mental manipulation to over power his father, it wasn't as if the father liked it, he desperately wanted it to end. A prime example of how well of a manipulator the son is happens just before the fight between the mother and son; he tries to convince the mother of how she doesn't know what she's saying and she is emotional. I say although this film was a hard pill to swallow I can't deny that it was beautifully done. It captured all the intensity of the family and has started a controversal movement. What's done in the dark will come to light.

  • Cheree | December 12, 2011 3:30 AMReply

    Um yeah...that was disturbing and I wish I hadn't ate before watching this....Ummm WoW!!!

  • Alicia | December 11, 2011 12:19 PMReply

    Bravo!!! I am breathless. This was so powerful. Thank you for this.

  • eddie hall | December 8, 2011 7:32 PMReply

    wow i am speechless.thats art

  • Yoshi | December 5, 2011 9:25 AMReply

    How is this not an overly melodramatic work? Not giving it any moral judgments and imagining this as having a cast of any other race, the plot just still seems over the top to me. Dealing with the incest and abuse are heavy enough topics but then to add on the running out into the street to be run over by a van and then a fight to the death at the end? Just too much for me. The acting was on and off with it getting better towards the end, but not good enough to give me a reason to re-watch it or recommend it.

  • ANONYMOUS | December 4, 2011 2:33 PMReply

    Disgusting.

  • Kiran | December 4, 2011 1:26 PMReply

    WHAT THE f$@% DID I JUST WATCH!!! I think I need to go to therapy after seeing this.

  • Kaye | December 3, 2011 9:30 PMReply

    Any short that can elicit such a range of emotionally charged responses is at the very least worth it's weight in gold.

  • Liz | January 27, 2012 1:43 AM

    Why is being able to shock people into a response worth anything? I could make a film that's 30 minutes of children being burned and tortured, and people would respond. That doesn't make it worth anything at all.

  • Babygee | November 29, 2011 11:47 PMReply

    I watched it twice and still dont know the point that was trying to be made. I laughed to tears until the final scene with the mother. But like everyone else, I have a lot of "why" questions. The kernel was him getting out the tub and saying put that in your book. For a short that looks like it was put together in a day I would recomend it.
    And one other thing, I have two teenage sons, and from here on out I will make sure I knock and wait for the invite before entering their rooms.

  • bashe | December 9, 2011 9:23 PM

    [trying to stop laughing] That's hilarious, Babygee...

  • ALV | November 29, 2011 6:49 PMReply

    Is this just the whole movie? Only 30 minutes? I was looking on google to find out when it came out,and i found this. It was really good/interesting and also crazy but is that it!!!!?

  • M | November 29, 2011 3:56 PMReply

    A true piece of shit. The acting was horrible, the plot was abhorent and the fact that the director chose to package his cinematic "vision" using a Black family, not coincidental, but blatantly insulting and patently racist.
    Of course if it's dealing with the most heinous, sick, perverted pathology, why not find a Black family to feature in the story!!!
    I hope and pray that African-americans have the guts to protest this guy Ari's crap till he choses to get out of the film making business and find another job...maybe the Klan is hiring. Maybe he could do The Birth of a Nation part deux. lol

  • haqi | November 29, 2011 3:39 AMReply

    Just watched the film, I must say it's terrifying to watch as a black man. It was really well done. With all societal emasculation and oppression we've had to endure it's the scariest thing I've ever seen. A commentary on the society I see now where boys are more aggressive than the men who inhabit our neighborhoods. It's sad because for a thinking man the film hits me at deeper levels than just a taboo subject. Independent in film and thought for as long as possible, that's the only way a film like this get's made.

  • kim | November 28, 2011 11:11 PMReply

    damn son! this is one of those films you want to bleach your eyes out after watching... which is what makes it successful. beautifully shot. disturbing. intense. well performed. some films are just what they are - entertainment - and not meant to be a voice of reason or world changing--i can respect that.

  • Darren | November 28, 2011 10:41 PMReply

    Wow! A very interesting film here. However, it left me with so many unanswered questions. First, I thought it was really loving of the father to not make his son feel inadequite for the masterbation scene, but when did the son develop such an unhealthy relationship with his father, and why didn't his father act like a parent? The father was clearly the abused one in this one.
    I know children are sexually abused, but are things like this FOREAL, or is this just some fiction that was thought up only for this film? Who knows...

  • Mandla | November 28, 2011 7:47 PMReply

    That was intense. I didn't think I'd want to see it a first but I'm glad I did. I thought it was a great film. Very well done, acting, directing, set design.

  • Vanessa | November 28, 2011 3:54 PMReply

    Umm. I finally saw this right now. This was really sick but awesome at the same time. SICK!!!! But...why am I laughing? I think I'm in shock. I'm about to read the interview with the director RIGHT NOW.

  • sonofbaldwin | November 28, 2011 3:12 PMReply

    Furthermore, I imagine this film might make life a lot more difficult for children of incest/molestation and a lot simpler for the perpetrators who will insist that the child "wanted it."

  • JMac | November 28, 2011 8:39 PM

    Thought that too... but whatever. Can't stop the wrong people from looking at this and interpreting it in ways that most (I hope) wouldn't.

  • sonofbaldwin | November 28, 2011 2:38 PMReply

    Pretty well-done film, but the subject matter is HIGHLY disturbing. And it's amazing to me (though, perhaps it shouldn't be) that the only time all-black casts are considered is when the subject matter is pathological. Had this been some feel-good, middle of the road or heroic film, no one involved with the film would have even IMAGINED an all-black cast--because they can only see us, I suppose, as we've been taught to see ourselves.

  • CareyCarey | November 28, 2011 4:39 PM

    Hello sonofbaldwin. There's a lot to be said in your following comment --> "no one involved with the film would have even IMAGINED an all-black cast--because they can only see us, I suppose, as we've been taught to see ourselves". Baldwin, let me direct you to a NAACP Bulletin Aug 15. --> 1.) It tends to strengthen the conclusion among uninformed and prejudiced people that Negroes are inferior, lazy, dumb and dishonest. 2.) Millions of white Americans see films of this nature and think the entire race is the same. *STOP*. Baldwin, there was 5 more items in the same vain but I believe you get the drift. Now, going back to your comment "as we've been taught to see ourselves" I am suggesting that comment should be, and is the most important issue... "AS WE SEE OURSELVES"! Who gives a rats ass about some misinformed, prejudiced and bigoted white folks? Seriously... think about that. Where do we get our major source of information/reference about white people? I believe it comes from our interaction with them on a daily basis. Then, what do we do with that information? I am suggesting it's useless to worry about what white people are thinking, or how they perceive us. The rewards are found in how we see OURSELVES. OHHH, that NAACP bulletin was dated Aug 15th, 1951! { 60 YEARS AGO}!!! Now the NAACP can be found supporting movies such as The Help. And, Tyler Perry is one of their good ol boys... go figure? In short, everybody has an agenda and white folks are the least of my worry.

  • misha | November 27, 2011 9:51 PMReply

    Micah, I made it a little further (to about 6:01) but had to stop when it became evident what was happening behind that white fence. *gags*

  • LOVESFILMNMUSIC | November 27, 2011 4:49 PMReply

    Wow. This film has done its job based on the reactions it evoked. Worshiping Zombie Jesus is not gonna do anything now that you have seen it. I viewed it as satirical. And I thought it was refreshing. I found "Mr. Graham" by Julius Amedume far more disturbing because it seemed more real and authentic.

  • Liz | January 27, 2012 1:46 AM

    Refreshing? Really? You were actually refreshed by this? And again, how does getting a reaction = creating art? Why is that now the standard? "LOVESFILMNMUSIC," I'm sorry, but I think you're just a film school wannabe who thinks shock value is worth more than message and content.

  • JMac | November 27, 2011 2:59 PMReply

    Funny how a short that was posted here a few weeks ago that dealt with pedophilia in a realistic way was pretty much ignored - despite being nicely done- but this piece (of crap) gets the most attention. Guess when you're bored and desperate for something unique, anything can fill the void.... the more fantastical and disgusting, the better.

  • Micah | November 27, 2011 6:38 AMReply

    I am far too young to see films like this. Cut: too me crying in the corner, trying to make the bad images go away.

  • Micah | November 27, 2011 6:42 AM

    I made it 4:43 into the film and I had to stop. Then I read the comments below and I couldn't go any further. This may have been a good film but I lack the stomach to find out. DEEPLY TRAUMATIZED. S&A expect a bill from my therapist.

  • CareyCarey | November 25, 2011 2:45 PMReply

    After this gumbo of vents, gasps, shock & awe, praise and worship has settled down to a nice simmer, I thought I shake a little of my own home grown cayenne pepper in the mix. See, it goes without question that all of us view movies with differing agendas in tow. Now, although I hate using trite phrases, I have to us the following to embellish my opinion on this film short and the comments that it inspired --> “We, us, you and I... Black Americans, are not a monolithic group“. Within that group, some of us love Horror Films ( I don’t). Some of us love the cat & mouse of “You Go Girl” films ( I can do without them). Sci-fi, gets little of my attention. It also goes with out question that many cherish the “poignant” and “relevant” and “positive” classification of black films ( I never knew exactly what that means). And of course, money flows like cheap wine when “Boy And Girls In The Hood” shake it to the ground and sell dope round n round. Hey, and violence in a movie seems to be a great calling card. Heck, I loved the scene in The Godfather when Michael Corleone met Sollozzo and lieutenant McClusky at "Louis' Italian American Restaurant in the Bronx. Those gun shots to the head gets me every time. Now, there’s no denying that some folks love sex scenes (my hand is lowered). That reminds me, didn’t a film on a dysfunctional family (white family) win a few awards? I think the movie was called American Beauty! And lawd have mercy, many folks adore Tyler Perry ( My woman does, so I had to watch his latest “Madea’s Christmas” last night!). You know what, say what you will about Tyler’s products, he has masterful comic timing, he gives his audience exactly what they want and he is obviously not living another man’s dream. Having said all of that, in short, in my opinion, there is a place for The Strange Thing About The Johnsons.

  • E.Patric | November 25, 2011 8:39 AMReply

    Finally got a chance to see this film BEFORE I read the comments and I must say WOW TWICE! once for the viciousness of the comments and once again for a superior short film. the art direction was incredible, the framing immaculate and the shot selection was superb. As for the script, it caught me by surprise and it made me uncomfortable and made me think...WHICH IS WHAT ART SHOULD DO!!! My only problem with the film is the soundtrack, I thought it needed more, but that is a personal choice and it didn't take away from a well crafted FILM. BRAVO!!! ....And in case anyone is wondering, I'm Black.

  • momowilly | November 28, 2011 1:37 PM

    Agreed! I had a very strong reaction to this film, but it definitely sparked a lot of thought, inspired great conversation. Art should do that.

  • Bellefilm15 | November 24, 2011 6:24 PMReply

    This movie had pros and cons. Pro: It was filmed very well; the acting was good, the directing was nice and the cinematography was excellent. Con: The subject matter was too much to stomach. I mean, people cringe when this stuff happens when a parent abuses a child. The subject of the parent getting abused by their child was too much for me that I couldn't finish the movie. Foe what it is worth: Good movie, bad subject matter.

  • Kita | November 24, 2011 3:33 PMReply

    There's nothing genius about a son raping his father in a bathtub! I think it was the sickest 30 mins of film I've ever seen! And by the way it's not a race thing by no means! I'm sure there are whites,hispanics,indians etc who suffer from this sicken behavior! ALL OF YOU WHO THINK THIS IS ART REALLY DO NEED TO FIND GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • J | November 24, 2011 12:24 PMReply

    I wouldn't classify this film as dark comedy by any stretch, maybe more satire. What I will say is all of the elements are genius...genius in the sense that even though the emotion it garnered within me was one of discomfort, I COULD NOT STOP WATCHING. The cinematography, the acting, writing, directing...STELLAR. I was pulled in from jump and isn't that the point? To find a subject that pushes the envelope and exposes those nasty little secrets everyone has? Sure, it was a disturbing film...but, it left an impression; it made me want to go back to the drawing board and tap into the unknown and put some thought provoking, daring piece of cinema out there. When I first read Push I was very disturbed by the context and when it was made into a film, I wondered if they were going to depict the film the same way the book was written...where the young, Precious actually experiences an orgasm while being raped by her father. I was deeply troubled by that, DEEPLY, but understood the story, it helped me gain empathy for her character and gave her depth and courage. The movie, of course, did not get into those kind of specifics, but even still the subject matter was still troubling and disturbing. To me, this film is no different; just my thoughts of course.

  • MR.NO | November 23, 2011 4:55 AMReply

    MAKES ME PUKE ! What a monstrous film , no comedy at all . FIND GOD ! Urghhh .

  • Kita | November 24, 2011 3:36 PM

    @ Mr. No I was replying to your comment. Not the pervert who wants you to find a brain. He needs God in the worse way!

  • Kita | November 24, 2011 3:34 PM

    I agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • g | November 24, 2011 1:23 PM

    Find a brain!!!

  • GeeGee | November 23, 2011 1:30 AMReply

    There was nothing "Comedic" about this film at all... Yes, the Film was "Dark" But a Comedy? "NO!!" But the truth of the Matter is, this is Real life stuff!! I'm sure There is Family, that is probably going through the same thing .. Incest, Rape, Murder, which we witness at the end of the film, is NOT a laughing Matter!! If people are "Laughing" at this, YOU NEED JESUS! then, you need to go to the nearest Mental Health Facility in your area for observation.. I'm a very open minded person, but there are certain things in life that WE just can't laugh at..

  • bicoastal | November 22, 2011 9:58 PMReply

    The comments on this thread are so bizarre and idiotic. Most middle-class blacks are only 1-2 generations out of the ghetto (see:projects), so I'm not sure where the snobbery is coming from. If people don't enjoy a film, then they don't! Attacking an entire race of your own people makes you look stupid because 1) blacks will NEVER, EVER agree on anything 100% 2) art is subjective by definition and 3) even if one likes dark comedy, that doesn't mean one will like THIS one. It's akin to someone telling you how low class YOU are for not eating sea urchin or caviar. Dark comedy is a genre that people of all races shy away from, and you either like it or you don't. On top of that, the script, visuals, acting, plotline, etc have to be solid otherwise it can quickly diminish the quality. Anyway, I found it refreshing, captivating, and unique. I really only have 2 critiques since most articulated some of my thoughts; 1) the son's acting was incredibly weak. I didn't see his wooden acting as part of the satire at all. Dark comedy is not about being stiff, and this guy should be replaced. 2) The new wife was 2-D, and I would like to see her have a fuller personality and get suspicious (or something!) of her husband's predilictions. Not suprised one bit that the one role that gets the "dull" treatment is the young black actress.

  • BIANCA MAARIE | November 22, 2011 3:37 PMReply

    I FOUND THIS FILM TO BE SO NEW AND CUTTING EDGE. THE FILM DELVED INTO A SOCIETY THAT FEW HAVE EVER SEEN, OR HEARD OF. ABUSE COMES IN MANY WAYS AND IT WAS INTERESTING TO SEE THE ABUSER BECOME THE ABUSED...INTERESTING PREMISE...

  • CareyCarey | November 22, 2011 1:22 PMReply

    WOW-WEEEEEEEE! Okay folks, I've resisted commenting on this thread for various reasons. Well, first, before I even hit the post I saw the comments flash by on the left of the home page. Then, I thought to myself, "do I even need to see what they're talking about?" But then, I noticed a distinctly different flavor in the opinions. Then I was hooked like a fat rat in a cheese factory. The video was gone but the opening trailer was still there (It looked very interesting). Okay, I continued to read the comments. After reading the comments (remember the video is gone) I had a pretty good idea what I could be missing (or not). I mean, it goes without question that many of the comments on a site of this nature, focus on the "assumed" negatives of a film, and I understand that. So, since curiosity has never really killed this old black cat, I goggled the link provided by ZACK B. Now, I don't know if it's my PC or the nature of videos provided by Vimeo but every 30 seconds or so the dang thang kept stopping. Anyway, I made it through the first 10 minutes. At that time I believe I had seen enough to make a qualified opinion. Well folks, again I find myself in the minority crowd. I have to agree with KMOORE 8435, FILMGUY, CYNTHIA (YEAH CYNTHIA TOO :-)), KIA AND SISTHEBLOGGER, in that this was a well crafted piece of work. The set designs were excellent and the acting was solid across the board. Even the extras appeared to be very professional. Also, the editing, directing and suspense factor were to be admired. Hats off for the director and the producer and the whole crew, job well done.

  • kmoore8435 | November 22, 2011 11:52 AMReply

    This is SATIRE people. Have we become so accustomed to mediocre, surface level films that we can't see that there's more at work here than just the premise. No wonder Tyler Perry is so successful. Comments sections on ever blog that target Black readers have been so basic. This is not meant to be taken seriously. This stiff acting style is done on purpose. The poking fun (is a darkly comedic, disturbing way) at suburbia, particularly Black suburbia where 'taboo' subject like this get swept under the rug as... 'this doesn't happen in our community so we don't need to talk about it.' The premise is twisted and slightly ridiculous on purpose. The writer/director is saying more here. I'm glad he used a Black family... and after reading the comments section I'm smh that it flew over 'our' heads.

  • Zeus | November 22, 2011 12:14 PM

    "Have we become so accustomed to mediocre, surface level films.."

    Yes, many have. Anything that doesn't meet the "black film formula (all black cast, comedy, rom-com, christian theme)" is considered bad for alot of our folk. And don't dare make your cast non-black, then you really have gone to far! lol. Sad but true. Art must be nice, easy and predictable.

  • Zach B | November 21, 2011 8:34 PMReply

    FOUND IT! Better quality.
    http://vimeo.com/32483624

  • RONK | November 21, 2011 5:44 PMReply

    Warped

  • mlm | November 21, 2011 11:21 AMReply

    @landlocked I thought of Ritual too from the description. I guess this short film is no longer up.
    = (

  • dyhnic | November 21, 2011 6:18 AMReply

    WOW, just WHOOOW hmmm. We are used to the opposite normally in such situations. This shows us that this is possible, though this is fiction, stories tend to have something of the reality. I'm still wondering why he did this, it was more than love. And what the father wrote in the book, we will never know. Our first response will be emotional confusion, or we must not exaggerate? For this being filmed, it will often happen in reality, right?

  • Akimbo | November 21, 2011 1:59 AMReply

    I thought it was a waste of the obvious talents of all involved parties. Pretty great execution of a ludicrous, disturbing for disturbing's sake, and pointless premise.

  • LandLocked | November 21, 2011 1:51 AMReply

    I found the project reminiscent of a Stanley Bennett Clay film known as "Ritual." Anyone seen it? Ironically, Stanley Bennett Clay is also in the film (in the wedding reception scene). In terms of critiquing the content, I must say I'm still kind of speechless.

  • FilmGuy | November 21, 2011 12:35 AMReply

    Wow, very thought-provoking. The cinematography was great...the acting sufficient. I found it overall pretty well done. Who cares if they're black? I know of no man of ANY color that would be punked by his son like that. Same thing with the mother. What mother, of ANY COLOR, would let that ish stand?? That's why it's a comedy people. Absurdist brilliance well crafted. Lighten the eff up.

  • LeonRaymond Mitchell | November 20, 2011 10:55 PMReply

    @Kia, Black want super non intelligent fare that is all about them with no other folks walking around but Black folk, and don't dare put some Latinos in it there would be outrage from the Black community, Black folk have become overwhelmingly the bigots they so disliked but with bad taste! I remember a long time ago when I would go into small arty theaters and see foreign that were superb and look down the row of seats and see Black folk as well as white folk, Now Black folk have become so intolerant they can even support a Black filmmaker from the UK who is doing excellent work. I am Black film maker and I am damn sure happy to make Latino films with a mostly Latino cast cause they support your work !!!

  • Darkan | November 20, 2011 10:51 PMReply

    This was the most disturbing, perverted, demented and nonsensical stuff from the pit of hell I have ever seen. Straight demonic. NO!!! It wasn't funny and No!!! it wasn't entertaining. Bad enough we get to see enough black people, let alone black men in a horrible light all the time, then this B.S???? Honestly if it had a white cast I would feel just as bad about it but being pro active for my culture it brought tears to my eyes to see my people doing this garbage. Please burn every copy like they did the memoirs at the end of the film. Bad... Just bad...

  • Beth | December 2, 2011 4:13 PM

    WHY do closed-minded, ignorant people have to spew their religious views when they don't 'get' a subject matter?? I know it's a lot to ask, but if you come across something that is a little (or a lot) different from the normal vanilla you are used to watching, can you try to form a semi-coherent response to it without shouting "They need to find JESUS!"?? It's sad, it's predictable, and it just makes you look vengeful, not to mention full of judgement and hate! With comments like "Find a brain", "This made me puke", and "Go find God" from some incredibly small-minded posters on here, is it any wonder why so many people shy away from religion in thier lives???? If you people represent how you feel the populace should behave, and the morals that need to be projected, I'll hang out with the 'sinners'. At least they can formulate an educated opinion.

  • ArThorpe | November 22, 2011 11:52 PM

    All I can say is I agree 100% completely.

  • Nia | November 20, 2011 10:44 PMReply

    I saw this in LA earlier this year. The plot is the only thing provocative about this movie. The acting was very stiff or overdone at times. It didn't do it for me at all.

  • goondyke | November 20, 2011 9:43 PMReply

    oh, the horror!!!

  • Martial | November 20, 2011 9:25 PMReply

    Why in the world are people taking such an OBVIOUSLY ridiculous plot so serious? I can't possibly be the only one that viewed this as a comedy. I thought it was very well-made and hilarious throughout. Never took much notice that the cast was black. Who cares? It could've been a family of caucasians, asians, latinos, whatever. I don't think the typical bonds of son, father, and mother are limited to one specific group of people.

  • Kia | November 20, 2011 7:40 PMReply

    Brilliantly disturbing and I'm not surprised that no one made a comment of praise. If you check out their facebook page, it's unfortunate the comments that plague that page. Are black audiences NOT able to look past the normal storylines (church themed, gangsta themed, sappy romantic themed, straight bs comedic themed, etc, etc--non challenging).

  • Akimbo | November 22, 2011 9:06 PM

    @Emmanuel, the director himself referred to it as a sort of dark comedy that grew out of an in-joke between he and some film school friends. I don't think it's funny at all, but the story is too ludicrous and melodramatic to be a serious drama, so...there you have it.

  • Lamont | November 22, 2011 1:12 PM

    @ Kia,

    I agree 100%

  • Ferg | November 22, 2011 1:10 PM

    Agree!

  • Emmanuel | November 22, 2011 11:38 AM

    Why do people keep referring to this film as a comedy? Somebody please explain to me what part of the film you found humorous? I didn't think it was funny at all.

    What I saw was fear and sadness. To me, it is more of a horror film.

  • Akimbo | November 22, 2011 11:26 AM

    I don't think the response to this film is due to that kind of resistance; people are angered/disturbed/thrown by the subject matter and I think it's a sentiment that likely crosses racial lines.

    You can't really compare a not-quite-funny dark comedy about rape and incest to a dramatic period piece, biopic about a non-entertainer, epic sci fi adventure or any other genre that black people are supposedly not into.

  • Cynthia | November 20, 2011 8:00 PM

    And therein lies the constant "dilemma" in our community Kia creating the NEED for Shadow And Act. It is disturbing how "themes" as this always cause so much consternation for no reason. Then when people say it's not "realistic" or "relate-able" to our people I'm shocked because that's completely UNTRUE. I just heard a true story last week, about a black family, that will make the hairs on your neck stand straight. Is it typical? No. Does it make you uncomfortable and want to vomit? Yep. So what?! You're right...it's brilliantly disturbing!

  • MT | November 20, 2011 7:32 PMReply

    I watched an interview with the filmmaker where he stated this whole project started off as a joke so I'm still trying to figure out what to make of the whole thing. I will say, towards the end I think the whole film jumps the shark though.

  • Nemesis | November 21, 2011 9:28 AM

    Thanks MT!

  • Isistheblogger | November 21, 2011 12:52 AM

    I actually watched this short on Saturday. It is so disturbing yet interesting. It was much in the same vein of "House of Yes" absurd with a disturbing topic. I think it has been hard for some people to actually see the film for what it is because as we know in the Black community any discussion of sexual abuse of any kind is often seen as something that doesn't happen although it does. I don't see any issue with the casting. I still would have watched if it had starred any actors of whatever ethnic background. Its different....almost made me think of the underlying Lolitaesque styling of Eve's Bayou but with a son and much more extreme. In the end I didn't find the entire thing comedic like most dark comedies. I guess I just can't laugh at bathtub rape.

  • MT | November 21, 2011 12:02 AM

    @Nemesis - Here's the interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdQcoBQPAjs&feature=player_embedded

  • Nemesis | November 20, 2011 7:39 PM

    D'you have a link to that interview.

    To be honest, I found it disturbingly intriguing. During the father-son heart to heart at the beginning, I kept wondering who the son had been masturbating to. Once I found out, it was like rubbernecking the aftermath of a fatal car accident. I wanted to look away, but...

    This guy is like Todd Solondz on acid.

  • Nemesis | November 20, 2011 7:10 PMReply

    Wow... For this, they saw fit to use an all-black cast?

    Oy.

  • Darla & Mark | November 20, 2011 6:54 PMReply

    Don't know what to say, oh one thing the directing was good.

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