Horror Movie Review: Black Holler (2017)

Black Holler is a comedy horror movie directed by Jason Berg and starring Tamiko Robinson Steele, Sarah VanArsdal, and Heidi Ervin.

An absurdly silly comedy horror with a super-low budget that attacks you non-stop with its inane humour and misfiring jokes. Trying so hard to make you laugh, inevitably you will. Even if it’s out of sheer pity. Once you do, you might find yourself oddly hooked by the film’s ridiculous charm.

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Originally released in 2017, it’s taken some time for it to get picked up for distribution but along came Wild Eye and now the wider streaming audiences can enjoy Black Holler.

So… what are you in for?

Kicking off in 1959, we see an archaeologist going deep into the woods of Black Holler. He is in search of a mysterious rock which is said to give the holder control over all the land. Likewise, anyone who should look to harm the rock will find themselves in a hold heap of trouble.

That’s the setup so we come screeching into modern times… well, 1989 to be exact.

LaQuita Johnson enrols late into the ‘Archepology’ class and is immediately thrust into things as the whole class is off camping. A camping trip into Black Holler to find the fabled magic rock. LaQuita has some sense about her and knows this is a bad idea but her stereotype classmates have little interest in what she has to say.

They’re all here to try and get a laugh out of you. Most of the time, failing miserably but eventually wearing you down. For example, the joke about the football meathead being played by several different actors throughout is very dumb but eventually it starts to tickle. A lot of the jokes are like this. Where you initially roll your eyes and then eventually give up and just start enjoying it for what it is.

The only one who isn’t trying to make you laugh but is often the butt of a lot of the jokes is LaQuita. She is street-smart, level-headed, tough and quite likable. All elements to make her the hero of this story. Oh yeah, she also happens to be a black woman. Why are we mentioning it? Because the film does, over and over and over again. Her blackness and the other characters whiteness are a major part of the film’s humour.

Now, this kind of humour might make you shudder but Black Holler’s goal is to try and reverse some stereotypes while proudly pointing out the ridiculousness of others. It’s a smart move as it makes the racial comedy side of things less mean-spirited. However, it really needed stronger writing and much better jokes to get this across and that’s just not the case.

It’s not the fault of the cast. No-one’s taking an award home for this but you can see a fair bit of effort going in.

So, the comedy is all over the place. What about the horror? It takes a while to get going but when it does, it’s fun stuff. Horror that is bloody and low-budget but also paying comedic homage to tropes and famous scenes in classic horror movies. It’s exactly what you might expect from a movie like this but they’re often the best bits.

Black Holler keeps things short thankfully. That’s a big tick in the win column. It rarely drags its heels and moves at a snappy enough pace. It helps keep things focused even when the film’s inane story-telling seems to be looking to upend everything.

It’s no classic by any stretch, but the budget and for how likable the film is overall, it’s well worth checking out if you’re looking for something with some stupidity running through it like a vein.

Black Holler (2017)
  • The Final Score - 6/10
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