Two best friends, one drunk stranger, and a pretty messed up memorable night: It’s a total “Emergency.”
Director Carey William’s Sundance breakout premieres stars Donald Elise Watkins and RJ Cyler as college seniors looking to get down for Spring Break. But their “legendary tour” of the most elite parties takes an unexpected turn after the roommates discover a drunk, semi-conscious woman (Maddie Nichols) in their apartment. Even worse: Their roommate, played by Sebastian Chacon, has no idea when the girl appeared.
As the college students debate over calling the cops to report a drunk white woman nearly passed out at the home of two Black men with their Latino roommate, they decide to transport the girl somewhere safe themselves. Meanwhile, her sister (Sabrina Carpenter) is also trying to find them.
K.D. Dávila penned the script and also was behind director Williams’ 2018 short film of the same name.
“Emergency” premiered at Sundance 2022, with IndieWire’s review praising the film for subverting the “traditionally white mode of American party comedy by injecting it with realistic tension.” As the boys grapple with calling the police (“We don’t have to do anything wrong” to get shot, they explain in the trailer), the film provides “vital ruminations on Blackness at the precipice of adulthood,” IndieWire added.
And Nichols’ turn as the “white-girl-wasted descendant of Terry Kiser in ‘Weekend at Bernie’s'” was applauded as the film’s “secret weapon” for the buddy comedy.
Director Williams had previously collaborated with lead star Cyler of “Power Rangers” and “Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl” fame for the reimagining of “Romeo & Juliet,” titled “R#J.” The feature premiered at 2021 Sundance, with “Emergency” filmed shortly after the festival in April 2021.
“We knew we might have a polarizing film on our hands,” Williams told Filmmaker Magazine about the plot. “Some people might not go for the premise or find some of the plot elements triggering. It might bother some people and we have to be OK with that. You can’t worry if your work is going to hit with everybody. You just have to try to say something and hope that it resonates with people.”
“Emergency” premieres in select theaters May 20 followed by a Prime Video release May 27.
Check out the trailer below.