Queen Rising Image

Queen Rising

By Bobby LePire | June 17, 2024

Queen Rising, the debut feature of director Princeton James and screenwriters Allison Chaney and Henry E. Reaves II, is a unique mystery thriller. The story revolves around schoolteacher Madison (April Hale) and her unexpected connection with the charming Greg (Xamon Glasper), a successful ghostwriter. Greg’s publisher, intrigued by her past, is keen on creating a fictional narrative based on her life. Madison’s life now and the tales she tells of her fraught college days set the stage for a thrilling plot that delves into the dark secrets of Madison’s past.

Madison’s father died when she was young, and then her stepdad was violently killed years later. During college, Madison got on very well with her roommate Shauna (Jade Abrielle) and even started dating Ben (Dash Kennedy Williams) seriously. Unfortunately, tragedy seems to follow her everywhere as a serial killer is taking out classmates and friends at an alarming rate. Who is targeting Madison’s inner circle, and why? For that matter, why are Greg and his publisher so eager to get this book done?

“…a serial killer is taking out classmates and friends at an alarming rate.”

The story of Queen Rising is easy to figure out; not necessarily the why, but the who can be sussed out quickly. However, the characters have enough dimension and engaging arcs to be worth the endgame. This is especially true for Madison and her younger sister. The intercutting between Madison’s past and the present-day recounting thereof significantly adds suspense, as her college days are so tumultuous. The finale plays out with quite the intensity, and the conclusion is immensely satisfying.

The cast truly shines, bringing their characters to life with skill and nuance. Hale’s portrayal of the lead, a woman grappling with trauma while still most determined, is a masterclass in balancing fear and resolve. Glasper’s performance is both charming and unsettling, adding depth to his character. Williams convincingly navigates the sweet and violent sides of Ben, with the transitions between those extremes feeling authentic. Kenon Walker, as Officer Parker, the only cop taking the slayings as seriously as the community would like, brings a genuine concern for Madison and her classmates to the screen.

Queen Rising may not hold many surprises for seasoned cinephiles, but that doesn’t diminish its merit. The engaging characters, brought to life by a talented cast, are the true draw here. And the last few minutes, filled with intensity and suspense, will leave you feeling thoroughly satisfied.

Queen Rising (2024)

Directed: Princeton James

Written: Allison Chaney, Henry E. Reaves

Starring: April Hale, Xamon Glasper, Jade Abrielle, Dash Kennedy Williams, Kenon Walker, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Queen Rising Image

"…engaging characters, brought to life by a talented cast..."

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