The lives of three Black ladies entwine like ivy in “Grasp,” a horror film with a psychological bent set on the campus of Ancaster, a fictional school in New England. What befalls them might supply a cautionary lesson on racial microaggressions: Get thee to a traditionally Black school! However what proves most promising on this debut characteristic from the writer-director Mariama Diallo is the eerie, potent house she creates and holds for her results in tease the nuances and twists of being a profitable Black lady (there aren’t any Black males right here) in a racially vexed establishment.
Regina Corridor brings her customary subtlety to the function of Gail Bishop, the primary Black grasp of one of many faculty’s residential homes; Amber Grey does intelligent work as Liv Beckman, a strident professor whose tenure-track ambitions might get derailed; and Zoe Renee captures the fragility of eagerness as Jasmine Moore, a freshman caught in a haunted dorm room with a cosseted roommate.
Every lady occupies a unique place within the school’s hierarchy. Every is buffeted by the disquieting goings-on. Some tensions seem like supernatural. Tales a few witch who haunts the campus and zeros in on one unfortunate freshman every new 12 months are handed down. Different anxieties are tweaked by the traditionally rooted environment of bias. Ancaster’s first Black scholar dedicated suicide within the Sixties, for example. And Jasmine appears to be the goal of a racist act.
“Grasp” has its share of soar scares in addition to the gaslighting feints of a thriller. The tight-smiled approbation and conspiratorial glances of Gail’s colleagues recall “Rosemary’s Child,” one other movie through which allyship just isn’t what it appears.
Rated R for language and drug use. Working time: 1 hour 31 minutes. Watch on Amazon.