A woman awakens from a nightmare at 3:25, no 3:26. I feel sorry for directors — they want to establish the time, but there’s not much you can do with a digital clock, so they always have the same hackneyed shot of the minute clicking over. And that’s all we get before the title. Not exactly setting us up for a thrillride.
Cedric the aspiring entertainer is on his bike in New York City looking for a vocalist for his band. Apparently auditions are passé, and such career opportunities are now offered to random strangers. He is talking to one candidate on the sidewalk, but she turns out to be a poet — so close! Ebony, the woman with the nightmare, sees her old friend Cedric, so he offers her the job.
They go out the next night Cedric finds out she had been dating a white guy. His racist response, “I don’t know why you’re frontin’, dating all these vanilla guys. You know you need a brother in your life.” He further sweet talks her by accusing her white boyfriend of having a small dick and stating that “You know brothers is the ones with the anacondas.” Off to the side, we see a leather clad figure crumbling a red rose in his hands.
The next night, Vanilla white guy Alex breaks into her bedroom and begins assaulting her. She fights him off, and he immediately disappears as her father comes to her rescue, assuring her it must have been a dream. But could we have had one shot of maybe an open or closed window to give us a clue?
Ebony explains to some vanilla white girl named Candice — roommate, best friend? — while painting each other’s toenails that she dropped Alex when he began to get into sorcery, magic and Gothic spells. Ebony, as a Christian, “is not down with that shit” as they say in church. Alex calls, but Ebony tells him it’s still over. That night she has another nightmare about Alex.
Ebony goes to see Cedric whose advances she had blown off earlier that night. But, damn the timing, he is getting blown off again by his old girlfriend Dee — and the good way.
That night Candice has a scary but non-eventful wait for the subway. At home, Candice erases two messages without listening to them, I guess assuming they are from someone who had harassed her cell phone earlier. She pours a class of wine and sees a man down on the street doing something, but it is impossible to see what she finds so menacing about him.
She runs for her landline but gets a “the number you have reached is not in service at this time” recording, so she runs for her cellphone. Candice mutters something unintelligible, but why does she think her cellphone will get through when her land line will not? She picks up the cell and it shows a text message “I AM COMING TO KILL YOUR ASS!”
Rather than call, oh say, 9-1-1, Candice begins running down the stairs toward the guy. He has the same idea and begins running up the stairs. He follows her back to her apartment and she is able to take a baseball bat to him, unfortunately about as effectively as the girls in The Cellar Door. In the next inning, he begins beating her beside the bath-tub, but she recognizes him and says “You?” He crumbles a red rose over her dead not-naked body.
Cedric figures it was Alex and says, “I’ll kill his cracker ass!” Fortunately, his friend and business partner Kyle is more level headed. Kyle then also goes to Ebony to hit on her. Ebony shows him the door also.
Cedric’s girlfriend Dee calls Ebony and threatens to kill her if her man Cedric is there. As she is leaving to kick Ebony’s ass, the leather-clad man is at her door and kills her. Thank God. Ebonys’ father comes in to see what is upsetting her, but he makes it clear that he had no use for her “cracker” boyfriend either.
And then some other stuff happens. Finally, Alex possesses the body of Cedric. He explains how he killed everyone, and emerges in the form of Alex; with a pentagram carved in his forehead. Somehow Ebony sends Alex back to hell.
This seemed like a borderline racist white guy’s idea of making a black indie movie. Other than Ebony, there were really no black characters to root for. Cedric is an asshole, cheating on his girlfriend, Kyle is a good guy, but then you are lead to believe that he is the murderer. Both are assigned the character of “aspiring rap artists” which shows up in a lot of crime reports. Dee is just a caricature of a loud-mouth obnoxious black woman. Even Ebony’s father seems like a nice guy until he starts calling her boyfriend a cracker.
On the other hand, the voices of authority and reasonableness are Ebony’s white friend Candice and the white detectives. These just seem like strange choices from a black writer / director. The ultimate bad guy — the murderer — is white, however. So props for that, yo.
- I had never seen any of these actors, except Ebony’s father in other shows.
- The roses were not emphasized or explained enough to warrant the title.