Master Review: Rote College Horror Story

Master has good intentions and notable performances, but this isn’t enough to save a poorly written College horror story.

Gail Bishop (Regina Hall) is the first black master of Ancaster University, a predominantly white elite school built on the site of a Salem-era gallows hill. At the same time, freshman Jasmine (Zoe Renee), moves into the dorm as one of the few black students in the old institution. She gets “The Room”, which is rumored to be haunted by a witch named Margaret Millet who kills whoever is in there on December 3rd at 3:33.

Gail and Jasmine’s stories run parallel with each other as they navigate privilege and politics in a white space.

Gail has some strange experiences and her on-campus residence has an inexplicable maggot infestation. Liv Beckman, a fellow African-American who teaches at the school, provides some support. Meanwhile, Jasmine experiences a variety of microaggressions, including being expected to clean up after her rich white friends and being surrounded by white kids screaming the N-word as a rap lyric at a party.

This Racism 101 is too on the nose and despite some other reviews, “Master” is no “Get Out”.

Regina Hall and Zoe Renee do their best but they’re one-note characters that merely serve as an avatar for real-life grievances. Other supporting characters are given some screen time but only as a plot convenience. For instance, roommate Amelia sees her crush Tyler kissing Jasmine. He goes after Amelia to explain and is never to be seen again. The roommate is pissed but this also goes nowhere, and at some point, she too leaves school leaving Jasmine by herself.

The horror elements, which are supposed to mirror Gail and Jasmine’s horrible experiences, are underwritten and contrived.

It’s unclear why Millet is after black students, so we’re just supposed to accept that she’s some racist dead witch who loves #3. Renee tries her best to look scared for the audience, but with a few scratches and some sleepwalking visions, the ghost isn’t much of a threat to Jasmine until the script makes her do something stupid.

Meanwhile, Gail keeps seeing maggots and discovers her friend turns out to be Rachel Dolezal version 2. She confronts her at a party, and this supposedly satirical scene ends up being ridiculous. Gail stays after her “friend” walks out wearing a cloak, sitting with the other white teachers who are still processing what just happened.

In the end, the movie leaves us with the message that nothing changes and you should just give up.

Master is a poor attempt at being a woke horror story.

Master (2022)


Master is a well-acted but poorly-written Salem-inspired College horror story with dull scares and derivative commentary.

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