Review by Adam Donato
Thomas Marchese has only previously directed a documentary feature called Fallen and a couple short films, but makes his narrative feature debut here with From Black. Anna Camp stars as a troubled woman grieving over her lost son. John Ales co-stars as a group therapy leader who presents this troubled woman with an opportunity to get her son back. Sacrifices and creepy occurrences ensue as Camp tries to maintain her own sanity. From the horror faithful streaming service known as Shudder, here comes another demon possession romp.
Horror in April is welcome, as the month of October doesn’t have a monopoly on scary. Even in theaters, Ari Aster’s latest Beau is Afraid graces the screen. Anyone rewatching his other two movies as of late will certainly find direct comparisons from Hereditary to From Black. That's not to say Hereditary has the most original story, but it stands out due to its direction and performances. All due respect, but Marchese and Camp are no Aster and Collette. Still, for a horror-specific streaming service movie, From Black got the job done.
Most will recognize Camp from her roles in Pitch Perfect and The Help. Seeing as it’s been about a decade since these roles, it’s nice to see her get an opportunity to lead again, even if it’s on such a small scale. Her performance here certainly gets the job done. The character is also dealing with drug addiction which adds a physical element to her performance. She’s so miserable and on edge throughout, making for a stressful experience. It's hard to see this convincing anyone she needs to lead on the big screen, but she comes to play here and the movie is all the better for it.
Marchese should mark this venture off as a win because this movie was a solid outing. There is some scary imagery here. The demon that is lusting after the protagonist is used sparingly and not shown outright to allow the audience’s imagination to fill in the dots. While the story may be run of the mill, the main character never goes far enough off the deep end to the point she’s not relatable anymore. The last scene of the movie ends the experience on a high note that might convince viewers this is an above average horror flick. Maybe chop off 10 of the 100 minutes of the runtime because at the end of the day, simplicity is what this movie has going for it most.
Horror fans and Shudder go together like demons and grieving mothers. From Black delivers solid scares despite its overly familiar concept. Camp and Marchese should be proud of this latest entry and build upon it. Check this one out on Shudder.
From Black streams on Shudder beginning April 28.