Master (2022)

Something is haunting Ancaster College.  What it is will prove to be unsettling.

Writer/Director Mariama Diallo’s Master has arrived and what an unsettling journey into horror it is.  This is a film which must be viewed, discussed, and praised for what it does with the horror genre as an impactful commentary on society is made.  Diallo is certainly a new and exciting voice and her visions for the genre are, based on the 90-minutes seen here, limitless.  Just look at the tough questions she proposes in Master, an often brilliant debut feature from Amazon Studios, and try to explain away the answers.  Shocking, huh?

"is dark and devilish as it follows some horror tropes... and then goes out on its own for some often unsettling truths"

Entitled. Privileged. White. The harrowing truth of systemic racism will shake you to the core as the nameless evil in Master is faced to identify itself.

While comparisons to Jordan Peele’s Get Out are bound to be made, Diallo’s approach to horror is a bit different, embracing a bit more mystery as an unseen evil permeates every frame of the movie.  This sophisticated take on the Giallo sub-genre of horror is more psychological than expected and, truthfully, more relevant to the realities of racism as three women strive to find their place at a prestigious New England university whose frosty elitism is a disguise for something way more sinister. 

Turns out that those ivory halls are that way for a reason and it will leave you speechless as its slow burn of terror comes after your own flesh.Master (2022)

Professor Gail Bishop (Regina Hall) has recently been promoted to “Master” of a residence hall, the first time at storied Ancaster College that a Black woman has held the post. Determined to breathe new life into a centuries-old tradition, Gail soon finds herself wrapped up in the trials and tribulations of Jasmine Moore (Zoe Renee), an energetic and optimistic Black freshman. Jasmine’s time at Ancaster hits a snag early on when she’s assigned a dorm room that is rumored to be haunted. Uh-oh.  Familiar horror tropes ahead, my friends.

However, things get worse when Jasmine clashes in the classroom with Liv Beckman (Amber Gray), a professor in the middle of her own racially charged tenure review. As Gail tries to maintain order and fulfill the duties of a Master, the cracks begin to show in Ancaster’s once-immaculate facade. After a career spent fighting to make it into Ancaster’s inner circle, Gail is confronted with the horrifying prospect of what lies beneath, her question ultimately becoming not whether the school is haunted, but by whom . . .

. . . or what?

Master, by design, is dark and devilish as it follows some horror tropes - college kids, shower scenes, basic haunts, etc - and then goes out on its own for some often unsettling truths.  But each and every trope is handled solidly and with a lot more atmosphere than expected.  The characters might not be as fully fleshed-out as they could be, but its social commentary is spot-on and it will take you for a wild ride as morbid messages are delivered with a tonal clarity that actually tears at the flesh, stinging as it pulls meat from bone.  The clamor, the creasing, and the cracks made onto your own soul is the price paid as its vision of horror wraps around you with a heaviness that can't be easily shaken off. 

Why?  Because this evil is REAL.  Master begins streaming on Amazon Prime on March 18th.

4/5 stars

Film Details

Master (2022)

MPAA Rating: R for language and some drug use.
98 mins
: Mariama Diallo
Mariama Diallo
Regina Hall; Zoe Renee; Julia Nightingale
: Drama | Horror

Memorable Movie Quote:
Amazon Studios
Official Site:
Release Date:
March 18, 2022 (Amazon)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: Two African American women begin to share disturbing experiences at a predominantly white college in New England.


Master (2022)