In "The Girl Deep Down Below," an otherworldly force haunts Chicago-area Muslims, forcing women from the community to investigate.
The new independent web series focuses on a group of Black and Brown Muslim women who join forces after a string of disappearances in their neighborhood. Their quest for justice puts them up against a supernatural enemy who appears motivated by very human Islamophobia.
Creator and director Ali Abbas ("The Ridge: Origins") released the series’ seven episodes earlier this month. He told Colorlines that he wanted to break typecasting and show Muslim women as protagonists in a fantasy- and mystery-driven story.
"The main cast is entirely Muslim," he noted. "I wanted to make sure that hijabi roles were played by hijabi girls, because they don’t get work, no matter how good they are." To that end, he cast Chicago-based newcomers Nada R. Abdelrahim and Ragda Izar alongside more established local performers Sabeen Saadiq ("Don’t Kid Yourself" comedy showcase) and Samira Baraki ("Empire").
"We attached a fantastical lore behind our show, because I don’t think we should promote the idea that strange things only happen in communities like the White one in ‘Stranger Things,’" Abbas added. "Why can’t that random event, that always happens in every horror or science fiction movie, happen in a community of color?"
"The Girl Deep Down Below" is produced through the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund, which also supports other web series with casts of color like "Brown Girls" and "Brujos."
Watch a trailer for "The Girl Deep Down Below" above.