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‘Black Widows’ is a Failure of Horror and Comedy (Review)

Written by: Daniel Hadley

Directed by: Venita Ozals-Graham

Cast: Brigette Graham, Shelby Kolcee, Jordan Elizabeth

Opening up much like American Psycho 2, with some pretty obnoxious narration that led to my head sinking deep into my hands as my expectations were smashed to pieces with the mallet of shitty writing, Black Widows took what could have been an enjoyable premise and preceded to suck any life out of it with an onslaught of overbearing dullness.

So the story goes, three best friends decide to get revenge on a rapist. Then a series of unfortunate events leads to all of their lovers losing their lives. Those are the nuts and bolts to the film and it appears that nuts and bolts were the only things used in this films construction, as it falls to pieces fairly quickly. So according to this movie all men are abusive misogynistic pigs who deserve to die. Now movies don’t have to be realistic, that’s fine, and if a film wants to paint half the earth’s population as monsters then that’s fine with me. I have heard people accuse this movie of having an anti-male agenda but where it paints men as pigs it also paints women as vindictive sociopaths and cop killers, so I didn’t really care whether it does or doesn’t, as it isn’t really pertinent to its overall lack of quality.

You would be mistaken in thinking this was a Lifetime Original movie with its lack of competent direction, writing, acting and camera work, but that may be being a bit too harsh. It does also try to be funny, and try as hard as it might it fails again and again. If you recorded all of the deep sighs I let out during its runtime and sped them up it might sound like laughter, but that would be the closest this film got. I don’t think I even smiled, the movie was just so dull. Now I may come across as somewhat contrarian as I looked up some reviews on IMDB and Amazon and to my surprise they were all glowingly positive. What the hell am I missing? What reality altering, perception distorting goggles are out there to make this movie appear to be a perfect ten, up there with the greatest of black comedies? Why did I find it so boring, so dull, so… well shit, I don’t know… but I appear to be in the minority.

I think the actors were trying give good performances but given that their line delivery was so bland it was hard to believe that anyone could give such a performance unless it was very much on purpose. Same goes for the rest of the production really. This is just an exceptionally boring movie. I think that it wanted to be a quirky horror comedy but it failed at both. It’s also one of those movies that is trying to be smart. Unfortunately its smarts come with enormous logical leaps. I suppose triple homicide is smart when you live in a universe free of consequence.

This was somewhat of a rambling review, as this movie doesn’t really warrant much discussion or critique. This is a very boring and dull affair, I would advise you to steer clear… but apparently I’m the only one who disliked this movie, so maybe you should give it a shot, as I apparently failed to see its greatness.

Just remember “black widows kill their mates.” The truth is, they actually don’t, most of the time. But I suppose Preying Mantis’s would have been a stupid title.

Rating: 1/5

About The Overseer (2283 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

16 Comments on ‘Black Widows’ is a Failure of Horror and Comedy (Review)

  1. Ouch! Quite a diatribe! Just a fun little ride with some thoughts about male/female relations. Perhaps your disappointment was based on expecting too much. We made this film from crowd funding and the sweat and tears of all involved. Happily, a whole lot of people have really enjoyed it. It’s easy to sit at a computer and an annihilate the work of others. I would love to see your film! All the best….,

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    • What’s interesting is reviews like this tend to really spark my curiosity. Chances are I’ll look into it. That said, you can’t really take the negative reviews too personally, and it’s never a good look to say “I’d love to see your film” – there are filmmakers and there are critics, they’ve both got a job to do and that’s just the way it goes.

      I spent 15 years as an active musician so I know all too eell what it’s like to be bothered by criticism, but rather than insulting those who provided that critism, Ive always thought it best to REALLY hear complaints in order to work on weaknesses and come back stronger for future performances.

      This is the movie biz, and if this review is as bad as it gets, you’ll be doing quite well.

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    • Venita Ozols-Graham On my review, just because I didn’t enjoy your movie means very little in the long run, but snarky comments and underhanded digs at film critics is never advisable, its very easy to take things to heart and be too sensitive when you put your work out for all to see, some people will love it and some wont, I made it clear in my review that I was in the minority with not liking it so theirs no need to be so defensive and throw all of the praise in my face, I will never change my opinion on your film and if you think my review is trash then I’m cool with that, a few harsh words is hardly annihilating your movie and that was never my intention.

      take care and keep making movies, don’t let my words stop you, that’s never what I want when I review a movie

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  2. Hmmm…left a comment but it seems to have disappeared, along with your sense of humor. I knew your review wouldn’t be good the moment I saw ‘Addicted to Horror’. You’re the wrong audience for this movie, my friend! Black Widows is not even close to being a horror film or a comedy…it’s a walk in the ‘what if’ woods of imagination…what if we kidnapped the rapist, etcetera, etcetera…not meant to be realistic at all! Of course this wouldn’t happen in world of CSI, lol. Written by an actual date rape victim, it intended to walk the fence between comedy and drama without dwelling in either. At least you got that it’s not a man bashing piece…it’s a relationship bashing piece. Neither the men nor the women come out smelling good in this one. The comparison to Lifetime is appreciated because my goal was to make it look like a Lifetime movie gone wrong, so apparently I succeeded at that, lol! I’m truly sorry you didn’t get the tongue in cheek and took it literally and hence, didn’t enjoy it. Happily, MANY people get the movie and we’ve gotten terrific reviews…just like the other one posted right beneath this one 🙂
    Thanks for taking the time to watch it! All the best, Venita Ozols-Graham (ps…you spelled my name wrong)

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    • When a filmmaker sees bold letter headlines about their film that state: A FAILURE IN HORROR AND COMEDY, clearly they will get defensive. A film is much like a child to a filmmaker and no one likes to see their child spit on. The irony is Black Widows is neither an attempt at horror or comedy ( it’s a satirical dramady) so the headlines state it’s a failure at something it never attempted to be. If I’d rented it expecting to see ‘Saw’, sure, I’d be disappointed. But we don’t present ourselves as a horror movie so why condemn it publicly for not being one? That’s what got my ire up about this review. Fine if you find it boring. Happily, the subject matter seems to be resonating largely with young women. I expect criticism from reviewers, but please! Be accurate! If you changed the title of your review to ‘I Was Bored’, I could find no fault with your review. All the best!

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  3. Well it clearly attempted to be a comedy if it was a ‘dramady’ as in comedy/drama plus its listed as a comedy on IMDB and I didn’t find it funny so in my mind it failed at comedy, it was also recommended to me under more than a few horror movies on amazon, plus the poster and font very much gives the impression of horror, its also about a group of friends killing people, so forgive me for thinking its a horror movie.

    I’m not going to repeat myself, I didn’t like your movie and if you cant handle criticism then don’t read reviews, all my other critiques still stand such as the camera work, acting and writing, I will not apologise for disliking your movie or giving my honest thoughts, I’m a critic, its what I do, take Matts advice and don’t take negative reviews too seriously, a lot of my work gets criticised but I stand by it, if your put a movie out there then you have to expect some critique.

    I’m not interested in getting into a comment war with you, I understand you disagree with my words so lets just leave it at that, you’re clearly proud of your movie and my review shouldn’t take away from that, if your movie is having a positive effect on young women as you say then fantastic, one bad review is going to stop that.

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    • Correct. I called it a ‘dark comedy’. When the interviewer asked me about horror, I was responding regarding my other film, Used Body Parts, which I had just received an award for (hence the picture) and the reason the interviewer asked to do a piece on me. My passion is, in fact, horror. Black Widows has horrific aspects but clearly is not a horror film. It’s being publicized as a dark comedy. Since you’re ‘addicted to horror’, please visit my Facebook page for Used Body Parts. We’ll be at Shriekfest next month. As per your review here, I came up with a title I think both of us would be comfortable with: ‘Snoozer’. Lol. Hey, I’m not mad anymore. Just seeing the word FAILURE in bold type after how much work I put into getting this damn film made set off a knee jerk reaction. All the best to you. Truly. Hope you’ll like my next one, Spider Lake, better.

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  4. I thought it was shit to be honest and the Director’s (and I use the term lightly) comments in this section just show that she isn’t mature enough yet as a person to release her work to public scrutiny.

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    • Hi Carrot. Just having fun here. Honesty is great. Inaccuracy, not so great. Never expected everyone to like it. That would, in fact, be immature. Just pointing out to this reviewer he misrepresents what the film is and criticizes it on those (inaccurate) terms…. Black Widows is publicized as a dark comedy. Not a horror film or a (yuck yuck) comedy. Different animal. Couldn’t care less if he likes it or dislikes it and shouts it from the roof tops. Just tried to set him straight on what the movie actually IS.🙂 Have a great day!

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  5. Hi Carrot. Just having fun here. Honesty is great. Inaccuracy, not so great. Never expected everyone to like it. That would, in fact, be immature. Just pointing out to this reviewer he misrepresents what the film is and criticizes it on those (inaccurate) terms…. Black Widows is publicized as a dark comedy. Not a horror film or a (yuck yuck) comedy. Different animal. Couldn’t care less if he likes it or dislikes it and shouts it from the roof tops. Just tried to set him straight on what the movie actually IS 🙂 Have a great day!

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  6. Adam Warmisham // May 5, 2017 at 8:05 pm // Reply

    Im sorry your movie just was not very good. The writing, acting, the direction…..it was rubbish. Its a hate film that cheapens men and women alike. Terrible. 3 out of 10. The directors comments prove she has alot of pent up “hate”. Teaching women to be sociopaths with no empathy is not empowering. Movies like this only worsen the gulf between the sexes. Although still not great “I spit on your grave” “Nympthomaniac” and “Very bad things” are far better examples of this type of movie. Movies you stole from with your trash movie.

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    • Thank you for taking the time to watch and review our movie. It was written by a woman who was date raped and attempted to deal with it with dark comedy. It was a challenge to try not to lean too far into humor or anger. Walking the fence, so to speak. I didn’t write Black Widows but strove to direct it as true to the writers intent as possible, which, she said, was to show equal dysfunction in relationships due to both men and women. No intent to man bash. My earlier defensive comments were right after the movie had been released. After the enormous emotional and financial investment of everyone involved in getting a movie made, it’s tough to hear people trash it. But I understand there will always be people who ‘hate’ ur movie. Even Oscar caliber films get the haters who give them 1 star. So, I’m just grateful people watch and hope some of them enjoy it. Which, I’m thrilled apparently many do. We’ve gotten a lot of good reviews on IMDB and Amazon and are grateful for that. Again, I appreciate the time you took and only wish u could have seen the humor we were striving for.

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      • Adam Warmisham // May 7, 2017 at 10:07 pm //

        Regardless of how I felt about your film I do find it very impressive that you take the time to read and respond to people’s comments and thank you for responding to mine. Im not a film maker (as much as id love to be) and understand no director is going to be able to reach all of an audience and deliver your intended message all of the time. I was a film reviewer for my university newspaper and love the art form and was a drama student in senior high and did very well, however my father (a perfect villain for a film like this lol) wouldn’t allow me to pursue my dreams and I took a path that I’m less than happy with, so kudos to you for going for the dream. I think the issue I had with your film is that I felt it clashed with itself mixing up it’s intended message, some of the film was very real, which left the dark comedy bits to be quite jarring, and feel that the film needed to take one path or the other all the way. I feel great empathy for the sexual assault victim that inspired your work through her real life experience and feel woman need a voice to address these concerns and film is a great medium for that, but feel the mixed messages in the film clouded and perhaps cheapened that voice. I love dark comedies, and you were dealing with very sensitive material and finding a balance telling that story is a big task to take on. Many other films that cost a great deal more money starring A list stars are far worse than your feature and for that I commend you and wish you great success. I know many people enjoyed your film, but did they like it for the right reasons? On a positive note your film made me feel uncomfortable and in that it succeeded, as films are supposed to make you feel something. A little polish here and there, a more direct narrative, a better script and screenplay and this had the potential to shine. I have been in some terrible relationships and do see what you were attempting and is maybe why the film made me uncomfortable. I DO FEEL 3 OUT OF TEN WAS A BIT HARSH FOR AN INDIE FLICK, AND I DID WATCH IT TO IT’S CONCLUSION. SO 5 OUT NOW. Take care.

        Adam

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  7. Hi Adam, Well, that was a nice way to start the day. Making movies is all about communicating and this has been a good conversation. You made many good points and I appreciate and agree with them. Hey, Black Widows is a tiny indie whose author tried to say things about the rage she felt being violated with a (dark) sense of humor. Is it brilliant? No. It’s just one more film doing it’s best to say something in a unique way with extremely limited resources. I’m glad you watched it to the end as that’s my favorite part. A dark happy ending. The best part of what you wrote was that it made you feel uncomfortable. That’s what I was hoping for. Unfortunately that makes people not like the film too, lol. Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to give your thoughts in an intelligent and thoughtful way! All the best.

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    • Adam Warmisham // May 9, 2017 at 11:56 pm // Reply

      No worries lol im gald I could give you a good morning, hope to see more of your films in the future and it did make me a fan of Jordan Elizabeth Goettling, her scene when she was in bed with a random guy and his girlfriend turns up and say’s “You could of at least chosen a better girl to cheat with ” calling Darcy fat and ugly……when her character was georgous and funny….was a very sexy and funny part 😁 cant wait to see more of your films and more of Jordan in the future.

      Adam

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