Release Date: 10/30/2020; Netflix
Director: Remi Weekes
Studio(s): Netflx, Regency Enterprizes, BBC Films, New Regency Productions, Vertigo Entertainment, Starchild Pictures
Running Time: 93 mins.
Cast: Sope Dirisu (Bol Majur), Wunmi Mosaku (Rial Majur), Malaika Wakoli-Abigaba (Nyagak), Matt Smith (Mark Essworth), Javier Botet (The Witch).
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
Story: Bol and Rial are refugees fleeing with their daughter, Nyagak, from war-torn South Sudan. They cross stormy waters on an overcrowded motorboat, along with fellow refugees travelling across the perilous English Channel in search of a better life. Although they survive the treacherous crossing, their daughter and many others do not. Three months later Bol and Rial are released from a detention center by British officials and assigned a home on a probationary basis. Bol can barely hide his glee but Rial is unmoved. The shabby house is located in a low-income suburb on the outskirts of London, with peeling walls and dismal furnishings. They are given strict restrictions or they may face deportation. In addition, they experience racism and hatred from their tenement neighbors.
Bol tries to assimilate but Rial, however, clings to their culture. Both Bol and Rial soon experience strange and disturbing phenomena in their new home, and see visions of Nyagak. Rial doesn’t take long to work out what the evil in their house is: an apeth or “night witch”. She tells Bol the story of a poor man in her village who accidentally stole from an apeth by the river. When the thief built his home, the apeth moved in with him and haunted him. Rial believes that an apeth has followed them and if they repay their debt, the apeth will bring Nyagak back to them. Bol burns everything they brought with them, but the apeth continues to torment him and things deteriorate between the couple. Rial tells Bol that she wants to leave. Bol locks Rial in the house before he summons the apeth himself, who calls him a thief and claims that Bol has stolen a life that was not his to take.
Rial manages to escape the house but somehow she’s back in South Sudan. She flashes back to a class room and sees old friends, who are revealed to be victims of a massacre. Rial survived by hiding until Bol finds her and they escape as violence grips the region. The bus they need to board will only let people with children on. Desperate, Bol sees Nyagak in the crowd and abducts her, falsely claiming that she is their daughter. The couple get on the bus and escape, leaving Nyagak’s real mother running behind the bus, as gunfire erupts. Having accepted what they did to Nyagak which resulted in her death at sea, Bol decides to repay the debt to the apeth lets the apeth into his skin. Nyagak enters the room and returns to Rial. Rial chooses to save Bol instead of accepting this alternate reality, by slitting the apeth’s throat.
Bol and Rial decide to stay in their new home and to go on with the ghosts of their past, including Nyagak. Sources: nypost.com; rogerebert.com; Wikipedia; IMDB. Photo Source(s): IMDB.