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Death has become too much of a norm for Vicaria. Her mother was shot, her brother Chris was shot, and her father, Donald, is now working two jobs and doing drugs to cope with his grief. Luckily, Vicaria hasn’t fallen into dismay as she keeps up with her brother’s girlfriend, Aisha, who is pregnant with her eventual niece or nephew, plus there is Jada. Jada is a little kid who Vicaria is a bit of a role model towards, but while things in the neighborhood are rough, with a silver lining, school is different.
Thanks to ignorant teachers, who can barely manage someone like Vicaria with a voracious curiosity regarding death, school isn’t a safe space – even if it is a PWI (predominately white institution). But even with a 3.9 GPA, school isn’t Vicaria’s focus. Her focus is curing death, even if it means unethical experiments using the bodies shot down in her neighborhood.
Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.
With her mother in the process of becoming a doctor, Vicaria absorbed a lot of the information her mother was studying, and it has informed her work on trying to find a cure for death – which she sees as a disease. However, even with a makeshift lab and ill-gotten resources, Vicaria finds limited support and often struggles as she finds herself unable to move fast enough to save those from her neighborhood.
- The actor is also known for their role in “The Equalizer.”
Chris is Vicaria’s big brother who, due to getting caught up in the local drug game, was shot and killed.
Donald is Chris and Vicaria’s father, who works two jobs and does drugs in his downtime to get past his grief – Nothing to the point of not handling his responsibilities or losing cognitive function. However, it still worries Vicaria that he is using.
Aisha is Chris’ girlfriend who is currently pregnant with their first child and is often seen keeping Vicaria’s braids together or helping raise her younger siblings.
Jada, Aisha’s little sister, is amazed by all that Vicaria knows and is one of the first to connect with Vicaria’s monster.
Kango is the head of the local drug supplier and the gang which runs Vicaria’s neighborhood.
- The actor is also known for their role in “Cut Throat City.”
Jerome is a kid around Jada’s age who also has an interest in Vicaria and what she knows. However, it is slowly but surely becoming clear that, like Chris, he may soon be consumed by the negative world Kango is the current head of if there isn’t an intervention.
Notable Performances or Moments
Amani Summer Bringing A Horror Vibe
Originally, Summer as Jada is a cute and precocious child, who sometimes has an attitude, but one that fits the moment. However, as the movie goes from a sci-fi drama to adding in horror elements, Summer brings a creep factor to Jada, which almost makes you think she is some kind of puppet master getting revenge on people who put her in time out or said the wrong thing to her.
Laya DeLeon Hayes Taking The Lead
From “The Equalizer,” there is no doubt that Hayes is meant for big things. Alongside Queen Latifah and Lorraine Toussaint, she has always held her own and given both a performance fitting of the kid in her family’s household and being established as an individual who isn’t just coming of age but going through trauma, joy, love, and more. As Vicaria, love, in a romantic sense, is absent, but we see many other life-altering moments and the feelings they inspire.
From the frustration of a teacher who refuses to pronounce her name correctly to being talked about in a negative way due to going to a PWI, we have a basic layer of her often feeling like an outsider. Then when you add the layers of two of her family members dying violently, her dad being a functioning addict, and just a desire to make death become a disease and not the end, so much is going on. All of which Hayes balances with the positive things in Vicaria’s life, whether it is her relationship with Aisha, and Jada or even feeling like her experiments can be fruitful.
The balance of showing someone who has experienced trauma and lives in an environment that isn’t always safe, yet she isn’t broken but still can remain hopeful, truly pushes Hayes forward and makes it so her name needs to be amongst the conversation when we talk about who will be part of the next generation (Hayes is 19) of film actors to push the art of acting forward.
The Balance Of Showing Vicaria’s Neighborhood As A Loving Community, But Also A Dangerous One
While drugs and gang violence plague Vicaria’s neighborhood, at the same time, we’re shown kids playing with water guns, adults acknowledging and greeting kids, and a sense that everyone knows one another. Now, does that change things for the better? In some ways, but “The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster” shows all sides. It shows the beauty of a connected community but also recognizes that when a community lacks certain resources, like places to address mental health and diverse opportunities, it leads way for substance abuse, gangs, and drug dealing.
This isn’t to say the film really wants to dive into the ails of any urban area, but it does make clear that all areas have potential. It’s just some have better investments than others.
An Imperfect Creation
Chris’ revival is imperfect. After all, he is Vicaria’s first experiment come to life, and with him being dead potentially for weeks, many things aren’t accounted for, like lack of circulation or oxygen to his brain. However, while there is a need to applaud her success, then comes the reminder of the issues Frankenstein’s monster had.
How does a being operate when stitched together of other humans’ parts? With a world not prepped for their existence, how are they meant to survive? Heck, considering their inability to control their anger, how can they even thrive? It leads to difficult feelings to process not only for Vicaria but the reanimated Chris as what he retains of his past life seems difficult to recapture, and he goes from being treated as lovable and comical to losing everything that once made him feel human.
Strong Supporting Cast
Whether it is small roles like Jerome, a kid as interested in Vicaria’s work as Jada but not given as much time, to Aisha, Donald, and Jada, “The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster” doesn’t add characters just for the sake of fleshing out the neighborhood. Each character is given a place in purpose both in terms of Vicaria’s story and having their own story outside of what she is going through.
For example, Kango, a local drug dealer/ leader of the neighborhood gang was allegedly involved in Chris’ demise, which is his connection to Vicaria, but he is also a young man taking care of his grandmother or mother and is in a gang and sells drugs because it is a lucrative opportunity. When people like Donald are struggling, they don’t have the time or resources to seek out a therapist, so they go to him to escape.
The majority of characters operate in such a way that you can easily see a story built around them, including Aisha, who may be pregnant, often in or around her house, raising her mother’s kids, but she is also highly intelligent. Biology may not be her strong suit, but history? Literature? Being culturally aware? She is no slouch, and while we don’t get to know much about Chris, beyond one nickname he gave the cops, through Aisha, you get a sense of who he is based on her personality and intelligence.
|Director(s)||Bomani J. Story|
|Screenplay By||Bomani J. Story|
|Date Released (Video On Demand)||June 23, 2023|
|Genre(s)||Crime, Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Young Adult|
|Film Length||1 Hour 32 Minutes|
|Content Rating||Not Rated|
|Noted Characters and Cast|
|Vicaria||Laya DeLeon Hayes|
|Donald||Chad L. Coleman|
|Aisha||Reilly Brooke Stith|
|Jerome||Ellis Hobbs IV|
If you like this movie, we recommend:
- See You Yesterday (Netflix): Also about a Black girl trying to save people she lost to gun violence using technology (time travel in her case).
- On My Block (Netflix): An urban dramedy focused on a group of teenagers trying to survive relationships, high school, and the local gangs.
- The Chi (Showtime): Depicts a similar balance of showing the violence that can happen within an urban area mixed in with the sense of community, which can make it still feel like home.
Also, check our movies page for more recommendations and our latest movie reviews.
“The Angry Black Girl And Her Monster” Includes
Cursing throughout, including the use of the N-word, alongside graphic violence that includes gun violence, the use of a weapon, and the desecration of bodies. Lastly, there is smoking and drug use.
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