The Weekend Image

The Weekend

By Sumner Forbes | June 24, 2024

Dating is always hunky dory until it comes time to meet the family. You know, there’s your odd aunt who knows the name of every bird species on the eastern seaboard and your uncle who thinks birds aren’t real, to begin with. All that’s before the discussion regarding the upcoming election cycle begins. It could always be worse, though. Your family could be part of an obscure Nigerian tribe that participates in untold terrors of the culinary world. Silver linings, right?

Thankfully, Daniel Oriahi’s Nigerian thriller The Weekend is there to remind us that we may not have it so bad after all. A midnight flick through and through, the film will satisfy those horror devotees looking for something off the beaten path. Going off the proverbial path is exactly what happens when Nikiya (Uzoamaka Aniunoh) meets the family of her fiancé Luc (Bucci Franklin) after he receives an invitation to their rural Nigerian villa from his estranged mother (Gloria Young). Before they arrive, they are accosted by shady security guards blocking the road to their villa as if to scare off any potential visitors.

Also joining the festivities will be Luc’s sister and her degenerate boyfriend (James Gardinergh), a man always ready to remind everyone that he’s a “man of substance”, though the bruises on his girlfriend make one question his virtues from the start. What a weekend this is shaping up to be! Full of music, dancing, and plenty of food that will make vegetarians sick to their stomachs. What could possibly go wrong? Let’s leave it at that, shall we?

“…he receives an invitation to their rural Nigerian villa…”

The Weekend does its job of bringing Western audiences a dose of gross-out horror from Nigeria, and the unique flair this cultural insight provides does wonders to make the film more distinct from countless others. The colors pop and the overall aesthetic makes it a visually unique experience, even if the overall narrative is a more paint-by-numbers exercise in horror cliches. This begs the question — is there enough in Oriahi’s film to make it a resounding success in a genre overflowing with content?

It’s definitely close to checking all of the boxes. Aniunoh and Franklin both impress with their screen presence and pathos instead of phoning it in as many would in a genre film of this ilk. On the other hand, some of the other characters feel one-dimensional. While a bloody horror film may not necessarily need complicated characters in every role, surprise performances do help add layers that make the overall experience more memorable.

It’s also hard not to mourn the length of The Weekend. The pacing starts to run out of gas at around the 90-minute mark, and the narrative feels over-extended for the remaining thirty minutes. Still, perfection is never the expectation, and for all of its shortcomings, one will find oneself thinking about Oriahi’s film long after the credits roll, at which point any potential vegans in the audience can finally put away their barf bags and go back to their Impossible Burgers.

The Weekend (2024)

Directed: Daniel Oriahi

Written: Freddie O. Anyaegbunam Jr., Vanessa Kanu, Egbemawei Dimiyei Sammy

Starring: Uzoamaka Aniunoh, Bucci Franklin, Damilola Ogunsi, Meg Otanwa, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

The Weekend Image

"…satisfy those horror devotees looking for something off the beaten path..."

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