Blumhouse Goes to Homecoming in New Netflix Slasher THRILLER

Directed by Dallas Jackson, who also served as a co-writer alongside Ken Rance, Thriller is a horror movie that touches on mental and social issues such as schizophrenia, bullying, gang violence, gun violence, and poverty. These topics are touched in subtle yet effective ways, with the film never losing sight of remaining true to the horror genre. It resembles Paul Lynch’s Prom Night (1980).

The film takes place in South Central Los Angeles, where eight friends agree to play a prank on their classmate Chauncey Page (Zachariah Waller). When the plan goes awry, police are called to arrest Chauncey for a crime he unintentionally committed. Four years pass before teenage Chauncey (Jason Woods) is released from imprisonment. This also happens to be the same time as Compton High School’s Homecoming-weekend, where the friends will be gathered in one place.

Above all, I adored the actors in this film. Mitchell Edwards, who played the high school football star Ty Reynolds, has also shined in horror hits like Bedeviled (2016), Dismissed (2017), and The First Purge (2018). Actress Jessica Allain played his love interest Lisa Walker. Unfortunately, Thriller was my first introduction to her, but I hope to see her lead in more films.

I also appreciated seeing two mainstays from Everybody Hates Chris: Paige Hurd and Tequan Richmond. Their roles in this film were distant yet pleasant departures from their characters in their hit show. Additionally, Famous in Love’s Pepi Sonuga starred as the sex-driven Kim Morris, literally throwing her panties at her shot at fame.

Two other familiar faces were Maestro Harrell from Fear the Walking Dead (2015) and Bone Tomahawk (2015) and Luke Tennie from Deadly Class (2018).

I must note the legendary actors who played as parents and mentors to the younger actors. Vanessa Bell Calloway, who has starred in Coming to America (1988) and Days of Our Lives (1985), played as the mother of Luke Tennie’s character. Also, The Lady of Rage (Next Friday and Above the Rim) played Chauncey’s mother. But my favorite legend was RZA, who resonated as Principal Hurd. I loved his unyielding approach to the students. He had no problem fighting back if he was attacked or his school was disrespected. Also, I know that he did the music, but the only song I can remember is Hoochie Love. Honestly, the title alone is enough to spark anyone’s interest.

This story extended beyond entertainment. First, it unveils how a lie can affect people for years. Though it may seem innocent at first, over time, a lie has the potential to grow into something bigger and even life-threatening. Then, there is the effect of false judgement. Even though Chauncey is wrongfully accused and served his sentence, the label of imprisonment will never disappear from society. Additionally, this added to the mental illness he already suffered. Surrounded by gang violence, poverty, bullying, and alcoholism, Chauncey and his classmates struggle with fear, loss, and death beyond a typical horror movie.

I hope to see more from director Jackson, especially feeling that his inspirations are drawn from classic horrors. Check out Thriller when it arrives April 14th on Netflix.

A childhood prank comes back to haunt a clique of South Central Los Angeles teens when their victim returns home during their high-school Homecoming weekend.



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