The Moya View

The Blackening: Racing to Get Every Bit of Killer Satire In

Lionsgate

Movie info via Rotten Tomatoes:

The Blackening centers around a group of Black friends who reunite for a Juneteenth weekend getaway only to find themselves trapped in a remote cabin with a twisted killer. Forced to play by his rules, the friends soon realize this ain’t no motherfu**in’ game. Directed by Tim Story (Ride Along, Think Like A Man, Barbershop) and co-written by Tracy Oliver (Girls Trip, Harlem) and Dewayne Perkins (The Amber Ruffin Show, Brooklyn Nine-Nine), The Blackening skewers genre tropes and poses the sardonic question: if the entire cast of a horror movie is Black, who dies first?


Review:

Lionsgate

The Blackening whips Jim Crow, Black Identity, Black horror movie cliches, and Blackness in all its forms into a horror comedy. All those ideas and tropes are killed off one by one, by the game black cast, until they are left naked, afraid and shivering against the wall. That’s the real horror of The Blackening– what do you replace Black Identity with once all the prejudice and cliches have been stripped away? The director, Tim Story and the writers, Tracy Oliver and Dewayne Perkins (who also costars), don’t have an answer or a replacement. They leave the audience to customized and adopt their own.

Lionsgate

The plot revolves around an offensive black faced Jim Crowe stereotype that is the listening, seeing, hearing. and snide talking representative of white racist fears- how those prejudices project outward in a black masked typical horror villain- to both stalk and try to murder them.

Lionsgate

The Blackening is both woke and funny. A pretty ordinary horror plot is given a self aware zing with some comedy and a little awakening. It’s Juneteenth time frame keeps The Blackening anchored as a black consciousness satire.

Lionsgate

The Blackening shows the real problems blacks face moving up and living within white culture- the nonsensical vicious loop that is prejudice. To survive the game you must know black culture. Ironically the whiter you are the better chances of survival. The game only wants to cull the blackest among them.

Lionsgate

I played the game and failed miserably in answering the black trivia questions. I’m sure most of the audience did also. That is the point- if you’re not truly black how can you claim to know what it is to be black? The Blackening does more than just tests our familiarity with horror tropes while messing with the variegated verities of Black identity.

Lionsgate

This is edging into Jordan Peele horror territory. It’s almost an inversion of it. The characters are constantly leveraging both their black and white credentials. The standard jump cuts and creaks and squeaks lead not to horror but comedy- and the true nature of reestablished friendship trying to unite under stress. They flee, flight, freeze, betray and throw each under the bus, but manage to come together and win, all while bantering on the cultural absurdity of it all.

Lionsgate

The Blackening is provocative fun. It gets a 3.5 out of 5 or a B+. It’s streaming on STARZ.

Lionsgate

Credits:

Directed by

Tim Story

Written by

Based on

The Blackening

by 3Peat

Produced by

  • Tim Story
  • Tracy Oliver
  • E. Brian Dobbins
  • Marcei A. Brown
  • Jason Clark
  • Sharla Sumpter Bridgett

Starring

Cinematography

Todd A. Dos Reis

Edited by

Peter S. Elliot

Music by

Dexter Story

Production

companies

  • MRC
    • The Story Company
    • Tracy Yvonne Productions
    • Artists First
    • Catchlight Studios

Distributed by

Lionsgate

Release dates

  • September 16, 2022(TIFF)
  • June 16, 2023(United States)

Running time

97 minutes[1]

Country

United States

Language

English

Budget

$5 million


Lionsgate


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