Master (2022) review – Amazon’s racially charged horror-drama is the latest in socially conscious African American cinema

By Romey Norton
Published: March 18, 2022 (Last updated: December 21, 2023)
Amazon film Master (2022)


Three black women find their feet and must question not if the school is haunted, but who it is haunted by.

This review of the Amazon film Master (2022) contains minor spoilers.

Amazon Prime has released the psychological horror-drama hybrid thriller Master, a great piece of cinema. Writer-Director Mariama Diallo’s debut feature will intrigue and capture your attention from beginning to end. Starring Regina Hall, Zoe Renee, and Amber Grey with a running time of one hour and thirty-nine minutes, this film is one to watch.

The story surrounds three black women who attend a predominately white prestigious Ivy League (fictional) university, at all different levels, and we watch them navigate and try to find their place in this new environment. The university is, of course, haunted. Built on ancient lands, on gallows hill during the time of Salem, where one woman called Margaret Millet was hung for practicing witchcraft. The legend now states that Millet comes back and selects one fresher to drag to hell at precisely 3:33. Who is she going to pick this time?

Racially charged, this film is full of mystery and horror. Classic horror techniques such as the monster under the bed, maggots, and seeing things in the dark are utilized, but it’s not over the top or unnecessary, just enough to build suspense. The film is a slow but intriguing story.

The film covers social and racial issues infused with supernatural elements. There is casual social racism embedded throughout the film, which should make you think, cringe, and become more socially aware of those around you in your everyday life. This film is psychological and sinister; in one section there is a noose hanging from the door of a black student, which symbolizes both the hanging of the witches and the hanging of black people and what is possibly yet to come in the film. I think the film works best with the implications and realities, such as campus politics and tensions, rather than the supernatural elements, but I understand the reason to have them. A lot of stories like the supernatural as a gateway for intensifying the fears we have in everyday life.

The acting is to a high standard with great chemistry between the characters. Regina Hall is captivating and mesmerizing, delivering an honest performance. Known more for her comedic roles, Hall is really showing her incredible range in this film. The cinematography is dark, what you would expect from a horror film, with no over-dramatic music, or loud bangs for the shock factor. The film has a good pace and keeps your interest.

I did wonder about the ending, if someone was going to die, if we were going to see Millet, and this just kept me watching the film. There is a great twist, with drama and excitement. This film will make you look at the progress we think we have made; you will question if they are long-lasting and effective.  Overall Master is a well-written, well-acted, and well-directed film. There are similarities to Jordan Peele’s Get Out so if you’re a fan of that, you should watch this film.

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You can watch this film with a subscription to Amazon Prime.

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