Review: Hulu’s ‘Bad Hair’ Takes “Beauty is Pain” to a New Level

Written and directed by Justin Sime, Hulu’s Bad Hair is an interesting satire that combines  horror, comedy, and cultural commentary. Although set in 1989, Bad Hair is deeply rooted in the contemporary experiences of Black women in America. Bad Hair follows Anna Bludso (Elle Lorraine), a young Black woman struggling to catch a break in LA’s cutthroat entertainment industry. 

Review

Sitting through an assistant position for five years and on the precipice of eviction, Anna is hopeful for better times ahead once her production company goes through a change in management. After impressing her new boss and gathering a new hope for a promotion, Anna, tired of being passed up for several jobs she was qualified for, is willing to do anything to catch the dreams she had been chasing for so long. And, of course, this is where things get complicated.

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In an attempt to appease her boss and earn a promotion, Anna gets an expensive sew-in that, ironically enough, ends up taking a lot more maintenance than expected. 

Bad Hair is a grotesque glorification of a Black woman’s reality. Sime represents the everyday terrors that Black women face in the name of beauty and “good hair,” and turns them into a physical manifestation of such struggles. For example, leaving a relaxer in for too long can lead to chemical burns and hair loss; this permanently scars a young and tender-headed Anna Bludso.  

Every Black woman in America is aware that the most scrutinized aspect of her identity is her hair. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the style, the texture, the time and money that goes into it, and anything else under the sun. As a Black woman, no matter what you say, everyone seems to know more about the hair that grows out of your own head than you. This frustrating predicament manifests itself into the grotesque demise of Anna Bludso.

Bad Hair does not follow the canonical qualifications for horror films; there are very few jump-scares, almost no exorcisms or possessions, and it seriously lacks any small children at the ends of long, dark hallways. Instead, Bad Hair is the worst version of a Black woman’s hair-related nightmare. 

The Bottom Line

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Rather than a stereotypical horror film, Bad Hair is an entertaining manifestation of the unrealistic and unfair beauty standards Black women are expected to uphold.

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