by Robbie Jackson
Scary movies come in many varieties. Most prefer the traditional gore, horror and suspense that movies like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” or “The Shining” provide, but not all of us enjoy the nightmares that come after. Some of us (a niche amount) prefer a comedy disguised as a horror film and for that group, here is the perfect movie recommendation.
If you enjoyed hilarious movies like the “Scary Movie Series” or “Scream,” then I can guarantee you will enjoy “The Blackening.” Traditionally in American horror films, for some reason the Black person always dies first. We’ve all heard the infamous line before in past horror films, “Let’s split up,” and if there is a token minority in the scenario, the chance of them being the first to die is high. Tim Story, director of “Barbershop 1” and “Ride Along,” masterfully directs the movie to perfectly put one question at the top of the audience’s mind: If the entire cast of a horror movie is Black, who dies first?
Written by Tracy Oliver and Dewayne Perkins, “The Blackening” follows a group of friends reuniting after years apart. Together they take a quick weekend getaway for Juneteenth to a spooky cabin deep in the woods. In the midst of their reunion, they come across some strange things inside the cabin that ultimately introduce them to a killer that resides there. This killer forces them to play a game, and the prize is staying alive.
The star-studded cast includes co-writer Dewayne Perkins alongside Antoinette Robertson (who both also starred in the “Dear White People” series), Grace Byers (who is famously known for her role as Anika in the hit show “Empire”) and Melvin Gregg (who had a recurring role as Drew in “Snowfall”) as well as many others. Each actor in this film fully commits to their characters and their stereotypes that were purposely displayed from beginning to end. From Antoinette Robinson and Grace Byers as Lisa and Allison, two women who have a strong passion for Black sisterhood, so much so that they believe they are telepathic, to Jermaine Fowler as Clifton, a geek who isn’t who he appears to be.
This quintessential FUBU film is jam packed with references to Black culture via music, punchlines and social satire. So, while this extremely interactive film may not be family friendly, it is however a great film to see with friends. All throughout the film the audience finds themselves prompted to respond, and all responses seem to be the same. Film critic Owen is quoted saying, “It invites everyone in the audience to feel included in its diabolically socially competitive, naughty-clever games.”
And it’s true! At some point you will feel like you stop watching the film and become a part of the film! The Guardian says, “This horror film is smart, silly and subversive.” Movie Web calls it ”Fun, funny and fearlessly Black.”
“The Blackening” is officially in theaters June 16 nationwide. So, grab a friend and make your way to your nearest movie theater. A good laugh is waiting on you!
Robbie Jackson is a graduate of the San Francisco Bay View’s Community Journalism Class, which is funded by the California State Library.