The Blackening

Verdict: The Blackening is more effective as a comedy than a horror but it is still an entertaining movie

  • Antoinette Robertson, Dewayne Perkins, Grace Byers, Sinqua Walls
  • August 25th 2023
  • Tim Story

A group of Black friends are forced to play a board game called The Blackening otherwise one of them dies.

In movie rules, nothing good ever happens at a cabin in the woods.

And that is certainly true in Tim Story’s The Blackening, which follows a bunch of Black friends as they reunite in a remote Airbnb for the first time in 10 years.

When night falls, the group are locked into a room and forced to play The Blackening, a board game that pressures them to prove their Blackness by answering a series of questions. If they get the answer wrong or refuse to participate, one of them dies.

The Blackening smartly satirises classic horror tropes, particularly the one where the Black character usually dies first, as well as racial stereotypes. The script is witty and full of hilarious jokes, although the comedic momentum does dip here and there in the latter half.

Even though the characters aren’t fully fleshed out, there is still an interesting dynamic between our friendship group, which consists of Allison (Grace Byers), Lisa (Antoinette Robinson), Dewayne (Dewayne Perkins), Nnamdi (Sinqua Walls), King (Melvin Gregg), Shanika (X Mayo) and Clifton (Jermaine Fowler).

The central friendship drama is between Lisa, Dewayne and Nnamdi – Lisa has got back with her cheating ex Nnamdi and her loyal BFF does not approve of her decision.

Horror fans might come away from this movie a little disappointed because it is a better comedy than horror. There are still a couple of good jump scares, a creepy masked killer and a building sense of dread when they approach. The villain’s weapon of choice, the crossbow, is quite unusual but the kills aren’t that brutal and they become quite repetitive and unexciting.

While the movie is very much an ensemble piece, the standout is easily Perkins as Dewayne. Perkins, who co-wrote the script with Tracy Oliver, brings so much energy and personality to the film. He lights up every scene and is easily the funniest of the bunch.

Horror fans might feel let down but comedy ones should not because The Blackening is a lot of fun.

In cinemas from Friday 25th August.

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