There’s something in the water in the new film Nanny. Over two unsettling hours, director Nikyatu Jusu submerges the audience in suffocating night terrors, blending glowing reflections of Black love with discomforting glances amongst kin. The film is an experience for the senses; you’ll hold your breath as you’re consumed.
While recent films in the Black horror genre have presented the terrifying realities of being Black in America, Nanny is rooted in the specific experience of the African diaspora. Black horror films often subvert systems of oppression but they also often employ Western devices and narratives. In films like Master, Get Out and Candyman, the horror device is the predominantly white institution or neighborhood — which has implications on the Black character’s sense of self and being. In Nanny, the white domestic space is the setting, but the tensions are manifested through African folklore.