The Blackening (2022) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Blackening (2022) Review

Horrorific content by christina on September 21st, 2022 | Movie Review | Slasher, Comedy, Survival, Campy, Meta, B-Horror, Black Horror

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It's about a group of old friends who book a cottage in the woods to celebrate Juneteenth, until a killer interrupts their fun.

The Blackening was directed by Tim Story and stars Antoinette Robertson, Dewayne Perkins, Sinqua Walls, Grace Byers, X Mayo, Melvin Gregg, Jermaine Fowler, Yvonne Orji, Jay Pharoah, and James Preston Rogers.

The Blackening (2022) Review

What if all the characters in a slasher movie were Black? Who would die first? This is the premise of Tim Story's new film, The Blackening. In the movie, a group of friends is stranded at a remote cottage in the woods for Juneteenth. As they try to enjoy their holiday, they are stalked by a killer. The Blackening is a new take on the slasher genre that will keep you on the edge of your seat. A group of old friends is getting together for a weekend reunion, but little do they know that they'll be playing a deadly game where their "blackness" will be put to the test. The game master intends to figure out how "black" each person is to kill them off in the proper order.

The Blackening is a film that fuses social commentary about race relations in contemporary America with the conventions of the slasher genre. The characters are all highly likable, which makes the bloodshed all the more suspenseful and thrilling.

A group of old friends reunion for a weekend of playing spades and drinking. Among them are Lisa, a lawyer, and her former boyfriend and current secret lover, Nnamdi. Dwayne, Lisa's gay best friend, is also present. The group has not seen each other in ten years.

The group's history is briefly mentioned before arriving at the woods' abandoned cabin. They are greeted by Officer White, who may be racist and explore the house with many locked and hidden rooms.

The group is enjoying a relaxing weekend together when they realize that two friends, Morgan and Shawn, are missing. Unfortunately, they soon discover that Morgan and Shawn have been killed in the cold open.

A group of friends discovers a large game room with a board game called 'The Blackening,' with a talking centerpiece in blackface. They soon find themselves locked in, and the game's instructions appear on the television. They must use their knowledge of Black culture to survive. If you mess up a question, the consequences can be severe.

The Blackening is a pretty solid horror movie, with some decent kills and a unique choice of weapon for the killer (a crossbow). But the comedy and camaraderie between the friends make the film stand out. These characters act like true friends, fighting and supporting each other. And the script, by Perkins and Oliver, is full of clever, sharp jokes. In addition, the film legitimately tackles a range of stereotypes and prejudices, from the obvious ones to the more ingrained cultural ones within the group. This includes Allison's frustration when her friends selectively reference her biracial status, King's ( never seen) wife is constantly described as "white" (she's Armenian), and Nnamdi is deemed the most Black because his father is from Africa (he, meanwhile, was born in Oakland).

This cast is stacked with talent - everyone brings their A-game. But Shanika and Perkins stand out, particularly for their prominent personalities and comedic timing. For example, watching Shanika put the stereotype that she can't swim to bed and then accidentally feed Allison Adderall instead of a pain killer (and then apologize for it for the rest of the film) is hilarious. Ditto Perkins is a highly talented dancer who is also very good at acting. He could flawlessly execute Dwayne's emotional friendship arc and dance provocatively for his friends when they were on drugs.

Worth Watching? 

The Blackening hits different for Black audiences, as there are many jokes that they can relate to. The humor is successful, the violence is fun and often cheeky, and the characters are loveable. In a slasher movie, that's a lot of praise!

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