Bad Hair was a fun B-movie, though I wish it had delved deeper into the things it had started to say about racism, and about the relationship of both black people and non-black people with the natural hair of black women, which continues to be mocked, hidden, damaged and appropriated by various ‘people’. But this movie was still fun on its own.
Our plot follows Anna (Zaria Kelley), a young worker at an MTV-like channel in 1989. She’s had dreams of being a VJ since she was a child, but her new (black) boss suggests that, in order to make it big, she needs to look the part – i.e., make her look not black. Her assistant gives her a business card for a salon called Virgie’s (Lauren Cox, whose excellence was criminally under-utilised) get this new thing called a weave – essentially, extensions sewn into your hair.
Even though weaves are super-common, I’ve personally never had to do this before, so I had no idea that they are PAINFUL, and this movie does not hold back. Close-ups of needles stabbing and drawing drops of blood from a scalp, the abrasive sound of hair being pulled like stitches into tight braids, and poor Anna’s yelps all make for a thoroughly uncomfortable scene befor the real horror begins – namely that the weave-hair is cursed by an ancient witch, and seeks to take possession of Anna’s body…
There are some hair scenes in this movie that make Raw look like a children’s hour, including a delightfully skin-crawling moment in which Anna is on her period. So props to the story and the economical but effective VFX, especially when proceedings hit their inevitable batshit conclusion.