SLAMDANCE: Unstoppable Short
Title: Mahogany Drive (2022) Director: Jerah Milligan Writer: Jerah Milligan, James III, Jonathan Braylock, James Carr IMDb Plot: Three Black men on vaca soon realize the house that they're staying in is killing white women! Joe Says: Mahogany Drive comes with a great premise and uses humor to tackle a number of different biases. However, its overly flippant presentation drastically diminishes the seriousness of those points. The three main stars are captivatingly funny.
Mahogany Drive has a lot to say. However, its overly flippant presentation drastically diminishes the seriousness of any underlying messages. Mahogany Drive also misses out in exploring the comedy-horror genre not terribly unlike Jordan Peele’s Get Out. All that said, the three stars of the short – Jerah Milligan, Jonathan Braylock, James III – are captivating, funny, and totally demand more time.
Mahogany Drive comes with a great premise: Three Black friends wake up to a nightmare: a dead white woman on the floor of their Airbnb.
That should have been it, man. Full stop. Let the antics proceed as the friends fumble around in a frenzy.
The friends – in an incredibly short amount of time – establish their commitment to each other and easily display all the comfort that comes in between those spaces. The humor works. As the story jumps right into the action, so too does the anxiety notch up. How do three Black dudes in an Airbnb – in a white neighborhood – explain their situation to the police? The horror aspect – it’s the house that is killing white women! – exacerbates the matter. But the joking finale douses that tension.
Written by James Carr, along with Braylock, James III, and Milligan, who directs, Mahogany Drive uses humor to tackle a number of different biases: racial dynamics, gender favoritism, and the marginalization of women. And questions are most definitely raised. Yet the glib ending evokes a frivolity in the seriousness of those points. Serious answers could still have been reached through that initial, beautiful, set up, even if that final answer was outrageously ironic.
When the wave that has been building finally crashes, the wipe out is the narrative. Milligan, Braylock, and James III have the start of something incredibly special. They simply need more time to finalize that resolution and a return to Mahogany Drive.
Be sure to catch Mahogany Drive – and many other indie projects – over on Slamdance
A version of this review appears on Cinefied.com
2 thoughts on “Mahogany Drive”
It’s incredibly frustrating that these amazingly talented men although black still have to be compared to “Jordan peele” it’s uncomfortable and uncalled for even if in the same race/genre its not in the same field or lane so give these amazing brothers there own lane damn. Hollywood please can you guys comprehend making real change, I mean really changing the game . Do better. Be better. Movie was fucking awesome end of review, mic dropped bitches.
Thanks for your thoughts but I totally disagree with you regarding the Jordan Peele reference. MAHOGANY DRIVE is a comedy/horror with an underlying message, which is EXACTLY Jordan Peele’s lane. Making a comparison to, say, John Singleton or Spike Lee, would have been completely inaccurate.
MAHOGANY DRIVE was fun to watch – and had an incredible set up. I thought the ending was too rushed with an incomplete commentary. And my review stated as much. All that said, I am extremely looking forward to seeing what Jerah Milligan has in store next.