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Marcianne Miller

Soul City 3-part TV mini-mini series

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In this clever production, New Orleans is the exhilarating setting for three short horror tales. And I do mean short, each is about 15 minutes--which means this anthology series can be a quick break from coronavirus news.

The first story, Grace, is shot mostly in black and white, creating a classic Twilight Zone appeal. A motherless little girl is verbally abused by a Jesus-spouting aunt. With paper and crayons, helped by a ballerina music box, the child takes her revenge—an abrupt change to murky color shows the hellish prison in which the nasty woman finds herself.

In Pillowshop, a man with insomnia finally gets a full night’s sleep thanks to an herbal pillow made by an old elfin-like man who seems to have escaped from Harry Potter. Alas, the dreams the man has turn into nightmares that also disturb his wife. Scary shades of The Shining here. This story is adults only, an odd choice, frankly, which limits the audience for the series.

In Give Man, a musician craving money, makes a pact with the devil. Unfortunately, regardless of the soul music the newly rich man finds everywhere, he arrogantly dismisses the warning, “The sins of the father must be paid by the son.” He also disregards what the characters in the previous two scenes learned--never trust a man driving a cab with big red dice hanging on the rearview mirror.

Except for the adults-only second story, my only other complaint about Soul City is that the stories are too short—they promise horror but deliver only angst .Cinema horror needs time for characters to face their demons and go through the scary steps they must take to either overcome those demons or be vanquished. I’d love to see these filmmakers make a full-length horror film. 

The series is directed by Coodie and Chike, a team who earned its stripes in edgy, adventurous music videos. Stories are written or co-written by Renso Amiriz. Technical crafts, especially cinematography and music, are excellent. Industry professionals looking for relatively undiscovered black talent will find a treasure trove in these stories because all actors, young and old, male and female, are worthy of roles in big-budget feature films..   

Soul City premiers on April 30, 2020, and is available to stream on Topic, the new streaming service from First Look Media that presents entertainment from around the world. SeeTopic.com.

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Edited by Marcianne Miller
typos

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