Rent The Blackening (2023)

3.0 of 5 from 84 ratings
1h 37min
Rent The Blackening Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Synopsis:
"The Blackening" follows a group of Black friends reunited for a Juneteenth weekend getaway only to find themselves trapped in a remote cabin with a masked killer who forces them to play a twisted board game by his rules, which they soon realise ain't no motherf****** game.
Actors:
, , , , , , , , , , ,
Directors:
Producers:
Sharla Sumpter Bridgett, Marcei A. Brown, Jason Clark, E. Brian Dobbins, Tracy Oliver, Tim Story
Writers:
Tracy Oliver, Dewayne Perkins
Studio:
Medium Rare
Genres:
Comedy, Horror, Thrillers
BBFC:
Release Date:
26/02/2024
Run Time:
97 minutes
Languages:
English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.39:1
Colour:
Colour
Bonus:
  • Audio Commentary with Director Tim Story and Writers Tracy Oliver and Dewayne Perkins
  • Do the Write Thing
  • They Can't All Talk First
  • Shall We Play a Game?
  • Cabin in the Woods
  • "Who's the Blackest?" Game Show
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • And More!
BBFC:
Release Date:
26/02/2024
Run Time:
97 minutes
Languages:
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English LPCM Stereo
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.39:1
Colour:
Colour
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • Audio Commentary with Director Tim Story and Writers Tracy Oliver and Dewayne Perkins
  • Do the Write Thing
  • They Can't All Talk First
  • Shall We Play a Game?
  • Cabin in the Woods
  • "Who's the Blackest?" Game Show
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • And More!

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Critic review

The Blackening review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

The Blackening is a horror comedy that fluctuates between being a satirical jab at horror cliches, a gallows humor array of jokes about race, and a devious dose of wish-fulfillment for the premise of black people in horror movies. The bouncing between these multiple styles would’ve been frustrating without the excellent casting.

The setup has the makings of a knowing horror movie. Seven friends have gathered for a reunion at a cabin in the woods. They were expecting nine, but two were called off early in a Scream-worthy moment that literally references Scream 2 and how the black characters die off early. Thankfully, there’s more to this premise than horror movie knowledge as it shifts to knowledge of black culture. Some secretive killer lurks in the woods, taunting the seven black friends with games of showcasing how black they truly are.

That type of premise works incredibly well, considering how much we get to know and enjoy the characters. Allison (Grace Byers) tries to be a mediator but gets too messed up on drugs. That being said, she isn’t afraid to bite back when others call her out for being mixed race. Lisa (Antoinette Robertson) is a feisty woman who can’t quite let go of her ex-boyfriend Nnamdi (Sinqua Walls). Dewayne (Dewayne Perkins) is more of an introspective spirit, but the right amount of drugs will get him dancing and chatty in no time. King (Melvin Gregg) is a party animal who delights in games and crafting absurd drinks of vodka and Kool-Aid. Shanika (X Mayo) is more of the drunker party animal and the nerdy Clifton (Jermaine Fowler) feels wildly out of place in this group. They occupy the entire first act with relationship challenges amid having a blast with booze, pills, and games of spades.

So by the time a killer reveals itself with a sambo-themed iconography of highlighting race, there’s cause for concern about who will live, if not for their well-being than for how much longer they’ll be able to spout such hilarious lines. The first part of the killer’s plan is already hilarious for the unseen figure posing questions ranging from “How many Aunt Vivs were there on Fresh Prince” to “What’s the second verse of the Black National Anthem?” The question involving how many black people there were on the sitcom Friends has the best punchline.

As the night progresses, the genre's cliches are savaged and satirized with surprising smarts. The creepiness of rural white people is turned on its head with the wild card of Diedrich Bader as the Southern officer trying to prove he’s more of an ally. But since these black characters have obviously seen Jordan Peele’s Get Out, they’re rather cautious with that liberal sense of alliance. All it would take is one “I voted for Obama twice,” and they’d tie him up. When the film does eventually reveal the killer, it’s a semi-expected twist and by that point, the film pretty much diverts into a satisfying beatdown of bigotry.

The Blackness could have easily been a tired horror comedy for presenting doped yet intelligent black characters besting a genre they’ve usually become fodder for. It’s not as heavy on violence and gore but contains some of the most uproarious scenes that are exceptionally written for the biggest laughs. At least four times I could count busting out laughing, and throughout its entirety, there was a big smile on my face for the vicious nature of the comedy. Bear in mind this is a gallows humor film on black culture, and it doesn’t shy away from going for the jugular. In one scene, the killer demands the group sacrifice the blackest among them, leading to a feuding. Clifton, the nerdiest of the lot, argues against his sacrifice by stating, “I voted for Trump…twice.” That’s enough to make the group recognize him as the one to go. If you can laugh at bits like that, you’re in for a good time at a party horror movie.

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