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Master (2022) Movie Review

My Cat Persephone Wrote this Review on her Smartphone. It was better than Mine. .

What the Hall is she looking at?

What the Hall is she looking at?

MPAA Rating

R

Running Time

98 minutes

Director

Mariama Diallo

Writer

Mariama Diallo

Regina Hall became famous by appearing in those ubiquitous aughties horror spoofs Scary Movie, Scary Movie 2, Scary Movie 3, and of course the 4th movie of the saga, Scary Movie 4.

After more than 15 years away from the franchise and without Anna Farris, Regina Hall goes back to the Scary Movie franchise she helped launch but this time it’s less funny and some people might actually die.

How can it not be? Look at that onesheet. It screams hilarious! You just know Regina Hall is going to deliver lines like “I thought you were dead too,” with deadpan brilliance. If you’re not laughing by the time the credits roll, you truly are a master of your emotions and probably have bottled up anger that will no doubt manifest itself in ways you can’t comprehend unless you can get a handle on it. Call Paul Rudd. Call your best friend Judy Greer. Listen to some Adele.

Just get some help before it’s too late.

In the meantime, watch the latest iteration of the Scary Movie franchise, Scary Movie: Master.

A side-eye of laughter.

SYNOPSIS

It’s orientation weekend at the prestigious east coast school Ancaster College. This fictional school has been the alma mater to two fictional Presidents (the one from Independence Day and Morgan Freeman from that asteroid movie) and a gaggle full of fake Senators. If you can get into Ancaster, you’re in some very special white company.

Today is Jasmine Moore’s (Zoe Renee) first day at Ancaster. She’s black.

Not in the first 5 minutes. We’ll probably have to wait at least an hour before that happens but I don’t want to delve into spoilers.

Jasmine was the valedictorian of her class which means she’s pretty smart. But she’s also black.

Jasmine has her room assigned to her. Room 302…

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Yes. Room 302.

If you don’t know, Room 302 has backstory but you don’t want to hear about that because it probably has nothing to do with the story and Jasmine’s first day as a college freshman.

Jasmine meets her white roommate Amelia (Talia Ryder) and her white friends. I forgot their names as they’ll be future Karens.

Meanwhile, it’s Gail Bishop’s (Regina Hall) first day as a Master at Ancaster. In case you didn’t know, Gail is the first Black Master of Ancaster which makes her a Master Black Woman and also a Woman who is a Master that is also Black. #Progress

No spoilers!

Gail knows she’s a ceiling breaker, which serves as a beacon of hope for Gail’s friend and Professor Liv (Amber Gray). Liv is also black. And she’s under review to be tenured, but she’s hasn’t been published as much and she’s also black.

BTW- There are 8 black students at Ancaster and the other 900 are super white with a couple of Asians thrown in to fulfill the quota. We’re guessing their sports teams f*cking suck.

There’s also the legend of Margaret Millet, the witch that haunts Room 302.

No. The witch Margaret Millet was white. But the legend says that at 3:33 in the morning, Margaret Millet shows herself to a Freshman and takes him or her to hell.

Jasmine doesn’t need a witch showing up to make her first few weeks as a freshman even more difficult. She’s getting bad grades. She’s been ostracized for being black. But Jasmine is a tough promising young woman. It’s going to take more than that to weaken her spirit.

But now she can’t sleep.

She’s seeing things that may not be there.

She’s waking up at 3:33 in the morning for no reason.

It’s probably nothing.

Gail is also noticing things she hadn’t seen before. Her fellow faculty members are displaying odd tendencies, watching nothing but Downton Abbey reruns, complaining that the West Side Story remake has no subtitles, and putting Hellman’s on everything.

We all know that college can be hell sometimes, but for Gail and Jasmine that might be taken literally.

They've been waiting for an Uber for 2 days.

They've been waiting for an Uber for 2 days.

What Works With Master

  • Solid acting from both leads as they carry this slow but effective burn of a movie. Regina Hall gets to use the dramatic range she showed in Support the Girls and Nine Perfect Strangers. Zoe Renee shows the gradual cracks of a strong woman facing evil she’s only read about and evil she can’t even comprehend.
  • The first two acts are full of uncomfortable scenes designed to get under your skin. If you’ve ever felt like an outsider looking in, you’ll identify with these scenes in your gut. A scene in a library hits particularly hard, even if it’s not very subtle.
  • A guided tour makes one of the scariest scenes of a young 2022. Writer/director Mariama Dialla punches us in the stomach with misdirection.

What Doesn’t Work With Master

  • What keeps Master from being great to only very good is the jarring indecision of what kind of movie it wants to be. The third act undercuts plot strands that were set up earlier. It doesn’t know if it’s a ______ or a _____ so it tries to split the difference much to the detriment of the ending. You try not to focus on the missed opportunities.
The reaction after the Will Smith slap.

The reaction after the Will Smith slap.

Overall.

A great week for horror. With Ti West’s X-cellent X, and Master opening in the same weekend, you’re spoiled for choice on the horror front. Despite a whipsaw of an ending, there’s more than enough to recommend Master. Just make sure you’re asleep at 3:33 in the morning.

Really 3.5

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