Nigeria’s First Netflix Original Series, Blood Sisters was fantastic!
Blood Sisters is an Ebonylife production about two best friends who get caught in a precarious situation and all the drama that comes with that. The film stars Ini Dima-Okojie, Nancy Isime, Deyemi Okanlawon, Genoveva Umeh, Kate Henshaw, Kehinde Balogun, Gabriel Afolayan, Ramsey Noah and Etim Effiong, amongst others. This is Nigeria’s first original Netflix series.
The theme of this series is domestic violence. Everything that happened is centered around DV. A rich man gets killed by his soon to be wife’s best friend as he tries to strangle her to death on the morning of their traditional wedding. It’s a very timely release as DV has been a topic of conversation on social media for weeks, especially after the death of the Nigerian gospel singer, Osinachi, who allegedly passed on due to complications from DV by her husband.
I really loved how the film began with a bang. They did a fantastic intro into the story of the main characters and how they were all tied together and then boom — Kola dies.
The way Kola strangled Sarah, I was so sure he would kill her, but then there was a sudden silence and we all wondered what had happened. Lo and behold, Kemi had shot Kola. What a scene!!!!
I’ll agree with everyone else on social media who has said that the story is American, but it was very contextualized. There was nothing in the film that would never have happened in Nigeria.
I really enjoyed all the action. It gave what it was supposed to give. The fighting, the strangling, the blood. All very well actioned.
I enjoyed the pace which helped elevate the suspense — will the girls be caught or killed was the question on our minds.
They also touched on some major Nigerian issues such as police collecting bribes, traffic, no petrol for police on the way to catch a criminal, and a redundant detective with a shitty accent. A lot of Nigerian films try to show the Nigerian police as competent when in fact, it is the opposite — this film showed exactly that because why is it that they went all the way to Kemi’s grandma’s house to arrest her and then handed her over to Uncle B? That’s the height of corruption.
It was interesting to see that the series was directed by two powerhouses — Biyi Bandele and Kenneth Gyang. They handled different parts of the series that were their strong points. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed a Nigerian production make use of two directors. You’ll notice the different styles if you pay attention. Gyang is fantastic at directing action, blood, and gruesome details while Biyi is great at showcasing injustice, pain and suffering, thanks to his background as a playwright.
The nude scenes were shot very well — showing a lot but also very little. I really hope we’re not getting to an era in Nollywood where nudity is going to become the norm — not everyday show women naked. If we’re going to do nudity, let’s do it for both genders or nothing!
The success of this film is largely due to the stellar performance of the cast.
I need to give a special shout-out to Genoveva Umeh, aka Timeyin, in her first big role. She exceeded expectations and played a difficult role extremely well. Pulling off the role of a drug addict is not easy at all. I was so happy she was the one who killed everyone in the end because who better to do it?
Of course, we all know Ini Dima-Okojie and Nancy Isime are superb actresses but they really carried this whole film on their shoulders. Their chemistry was amazing, and not forced at all — best friends who stood by each other no matter what.
I also enjoyed the chemistry between Kehinde Bankole and Gabriel Afolayan. She was really in charge of his life and he did everything she said. The sex scenes were top notch, especially the one that happened while Gabriel was announcing his takeover as CEO, concurrently. Brilliant editing.
Although Deyemi Okanlawon was only in one episode, he actually set the tone for the whole film. We could feel him everywhere. That’s the work of a fantastic actor.
I know a lot of people thought Ramsey Noah’s role was redundant but I actually really liked that they casted him as the bodyguard. It showed that you don’t have to speak a lot to be a really good actor. I think they knew he would look great in that blue vintage car on third mainland bridge. That bridge has never looked so good.
I felt like there were too many big personalities in the series who were underutilized. The fact that you have a big budget doesn’t mean you should waste it on actors, e.g. Toyin Aimakhu, Joke Silva, Zack Orji being in only one scene. This is not even a matter of marketing because the younger actors are big enough to carry it so the “veterans” weren’t really needed. I guess this is what we need to deal with when watching Ebonylife productions.
My favorite aspect of the series was the costume. The attention to detail was topnotch. Of course Yolanda Okereke was in charge. My three favorite costume moments:
- Everything Kehinde Balogun wore, the shape and colour of her nails made her look like a real villain, and they were on brand, to suit each scene.
- Kate Henshaw’s extravagant outfits showed that she was the boss in charge of everyone’s lives. She didn’t play by the rules, she made the rules.
- Ini and Nancy’s African pieces when they were on the way to the village. The perfect fit for criminals on the run and I loved it.
Ebonylife are keeping their crown as the best in Nigerian series. I think a lot of people forget this — think Castle&Castle and Sons of the Caliphate, amongst others.
It’s a 9/10 for me.