The Blackening
Photograph: Glen Wilson/Lionsgate
  • Film

The Blackening

This horror satire slashes at the genre's racial stereotypes, but don't expect Jordan Peele

Kambole Campbell

Time Out says

The Blackening is a horror-comedy with a meta angle and a distinctly Black perspective, but make no mistake: Get Out this is not. Instead, it lands somewhere between Scary Movie and Scream  like the former, the opening references the latter – dealing in a similar kind of heavily referential humour that edges up to, but never quite crosses over into, full-on parody. The results are mixed. 

Expanding on a comic short by co-writers Tracy Oliver and Dewayne Perkins, The Blackening follows a group of old college friends reuniting on Juneteenth for a trip to a secluded cabin – an immediate red flag they all seem wary of. Their suspicions turn out to be warranted: there’s a killer on the loose, who keeps a collection of racist cultural ephemera in the basement. 

As the friends bicker and panic, the one liners delivered among the chaos are uplifted by a generally strong cast – Perkins, effectively playing himself, is a particular standout. And in between the many quips, director Tim Story (Fantastic Four, Barbershop) does throw in moments of genuine surprise.  

Overall, though, nothing really feels at stake. The Blackening suffers for its inability to build an effectively scary or tense set-piece, nor does it reach particularly far with its thoughts about colourism or social constructions of Blackness, or even the horror tropes it satirises. Not every movie needs to be Jordan Peele, of course, and it’s funny enough half the time. But even as it focuses on comedy, its built-in self-awareness can feel stifling: you’ll barely have time to think ‘those gas station attendants remind me of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ before the characters explain the reference themselves – twice. 

In UK cinemas Aug 25.

Cast and crew

  • Director:Tim Story
  • Screenwriter:Dewayne Perkins, Tracy Oliver
  • Cast:
    • Dewayne Perkins
    • Grace Byers
    • Jermaine Fowler
    • X Mayo
    • Antoinette Robertson
You may also like
You may also like