Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014)

Viewed February 17

After being stabbed by a rare dagger procured from an African culture with ties to vampirism rituals, an African-American archaeologist develops his own need for blood. 

Director Spike Lee, remaking a 1973 Bill Gunn film called Ganja & Hess, interprets the vampire myth as what happens when you're in the American upper class--you need more and more and more in order to live so well. But the way it is about this interpretation is interesting. As an aesthetic object, the film feels like the Ashanti dagger that sets off its narrative. There's a rough hewn, almost outsider art funkiness, but also a slickness and power and elegance. This combination of weird rawness and sophisticated cool makes the film very alive and present and, ultimately, dangerous. Its critique comes from within the upper class but at a harsh, unfamiliar angle. Likewise, how it gets to its scares comes from within the horror genre but in a way that feels enjoyably bumpy and strange.