What could a case of horrific police brutality and a supernatural haunting have to do with one another? Mary J. Blige is about to get to the bottom of it in the new horror thriller Body Cam.
Horror filmmakers are no strangers to incorporating the subtexts of modern social issues, current events, and controversial content into the stories they produce. Much like the genre itself, the issues going on in the world around us and our acknowledgement of them, our fight against them, continues to grow. While it’s obvious the film industry adapts stories and characters to the current climate of society, no genre so clearly illustrates relevant socioeconomic, political, psychological, and even environmental issues quite like horror does.
In fact, what makes so many ‘hit’ horror films successful is their ability to take a timely problem and guise it in the form of a monster, both metaphorical and real. True horror lives and breathes around us every day and horror films allow us to physically see that using meaningful thematic techniques. Larry Cohen’s The Stuff is a scary satire of the destruction of consumerism. Bryan Bertino’s The Monster is a portrait of an alcoholic’s effects on others. The list can go on and on.
Take Jordan Peele’s Get Out as a recent example. With the much needed resurgence in racism awareness, Peele took a topic that needed the spot light from the silver screen on it and turned it into a fantastic, unnerving story. No matter how it was interpreted, audiences were exposed to a relevant issue in America and discussions were had, inking Peele’s name in the horror history textbook. Sometimes it takes a ghost or a murder to get people to recognize a problem. That’s how it usually happens for characters in film and it’s ironically how the horror industry’s filmmakers positively and purposely get their viewers talking, acknowledging it in reality.
In the upcoming Body Cam, directed by Malik Vitthal (Imperial Dreams), police brutality takes center stage with elements of the supernatural enforcing the laws of revenge on white LAPD police officers who murder a black youth. It’s a news headline we are sadly too familiar with. Body Cam is getting some buzz for two pretty significant reasons aside from the controversial theme: it’s being described as “Get Out meets End of Watch” and the lead is a strong, black, fierce female R&B and Hip Hop artist, Grammy Award winner and Oscar nominee, Mary J. Blige (Mudbound, I Can Do Bad All By Myself).
In her first leading role, Blige will play an officer investigating the haunting behind this heinous act captured on tape by mandated police body cameras. From that it appears Body Cam will include a found footage aspect.
Paramount Players (set to produce the Are You Afraid of the Dark? reboot) was highly active in acquiring production rights for Body Cam, being its first pricey purchase and top priority project. They’ve placed it in the hands of the surely successful up-and-comer Vitthal with a script written initially by Richmond Riedel (Deep Impact) and re-written by Nicholas McCarthy (At The Devil’s Door) and John Ridley (12 Years a Slave). The mixture of the writers’ past content combined with casting a triple-threat powerhouse like Blige, proves the company is making all of the right moves to take this film seriously.
With a talented star and activist like Blige at the forefront, a culturally relevant story, and a dedicated, talented production team, Body Cam is sure to attract audiences and hopefully do what horror does best: get us talking.
Though there is no release date announced for Body Cam yet, (forgive me, I have to do this) we should still “get crunk ‘cause Mary’s backk”.