Hasan Oswald’s latest work, Higher Love, shines a light on the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States through the lease of horror. What is most interesting about Oswald’s docu-style feature is the way in which horror manifests through the real-life monster of drug addiction and poverty.
We follow Daryl Gantt, a struggling blue-collar worker who is striving to become a better father than his own before him. Daryl’s ongoing mission to find his pregnant girlfriend on the streets of abandoned Camden, New Jersey, will ultimately lead him down a path of self-discovery as does the local drug kingpin turned addict, Iman.
It’s a harrowing journey through the horrors of fentanyl-laced heroin addiction, where the very streets seem to be littered with the stuff and the broken shells of people that remain following its use. Oswald’s film heartbreakingly shows us a hurting community that is not only addicted but aware of their own bad circumstances. All the characters involved are desperate for change, which makes things even more depressing when none of them are able to get out; a powerful metaphor for the black hole of addiction that one could fall down. And as the filmmakers not so subtly imply, it could be any of us.
Brendan Haley is a screenwriter, columnist, producer, and actor known primarily for his work within both horror and lgbtq media spaces. He has reported on entertainment news for multiple outlets including The Advocate, as well as hosting network pop culture reviews. As a producer and screenwriter, some of his notable works include Netflix's Eastsiders, and Dekkoo's A Halloween Trick. His favorite horror flicks include All About Evil, Suspiria, and Critters.