The New Horror-Comedy, “The Blackening” is a Must See!

The Blackening” is a horror-comedy directed by Tim Story, begging the question, “If the entire cast of a horror movie is Black who dies first?”

The film turns the stereotypical horror trope of the Black character dying first on its head by featuring an all-Black cast fighting to survive in this soon-to-be classic.

The smart, suspenseful, satirical film unfolds as nine friends from college reunite for Juneteenth weekend at a cabin in the woods. This movie succeeds in what the typical horror movie fails to do by giving Black characters depth and relatability, which ultimately drives the film. 

Dewayne (Dewayne Perkins, also a co-writer and producer of the film), proves to be much more than a stereotypical gay best friend to loveable Lisa (Antoinette Robertson) — who is secretly back with her ex Nnamdi (Sinqua Walls). This causes tension between Lisa and Dewayne, as he has had to pick up the pieces after Nnamdi left her brokenhearted in the past. 

Allison (Grace Byers) is the biracial Hotep-esque friend with (white) daddy issues; King (Melvin Gregg) is the reformed thug with a new direction in life, Shanika (X Mayo) is the fabulous bold friend who brings the comedy, and Clifton (Jermaine Fowler) stands out as the nerdy outsider — who voted for Trump twice. 

After arriving at the cabin and playing a game of Spades, the group finds their way to the basement game room. There, they see a trivia board game titled The Blackening with a disturbing plastic Sambo as its centerpiece. Suddenly an old black-and-white TV turns on and a sinister figure with a blackface caricature mask appears, alerting them that their other friend Morgan (Yvonne Orji) – who arrived a day early, is being held hostage and they must play the game in order to save her.  

The group goes rounds playing essentially a high stakes Black trivia, but when a trick question causes them to lose, the masked killer demands that they sacrifice the “blackest” person in order to spare the rest. 

The concept is based on a 2018 sketch from Perkin’s comedy sketch group 3Peat, in which he also wrote and starred. Together, Perkins and co-writer Tracy Oliver (“Girls Trip”) seamlessly brought the sketch to the big screen without sacrificing the comedic and unapologetically Black elements that make this film work. 

“The Blackening” serves as a commentary on what does it truly mean to be Black? Refreshingly, it does this without falling into worn-out stereotypes, but still incorporating and celebrating shared Black experiences. We see this in the scenes where the group plays Spades, dialogue on overly sweet Kool-Aid, or when Lisa and Allison can tell what each other is thinking just by a look.  

Anyone that has screamed, “Don’t go in there!” while watching a horror movie, will enjoy this film and the hilariously self-aware characters. At one point in the movie, we watch Dewayne simply close a door that was mysteriously swung open, a movie moment much to the audience’s satisfaction. 

Although inspired by “Scary Movie,” “The Blackening” is far from a parody film — yet while a social commentary, it  doesn’t take itself as seriously as the likes of “Get Out.” It is the perfect balance of genuine horror, hilarity, and satire, that will leave you laughing and screaming till the end. 

 “The Blackening” hits theaters on June 16.