THE ABSTRACT: “The Blackening” adds a distinct and different flavor to the current Black Horror Renaissance.

The Blackening is a plucky new entrant to the horror-comedy genre, artfully blurring the lines between suspense, humor, and a substantive meditation on Black identity. It’s a quirky rollercoaster ride that ropes you in from the get-go with a captivating narrative, well-realized characters, and a fresh approach to the genre.

There’s an innovative spin here: the time-worn horror trope where Black characters are invariably expendable is thrown out the window. Instead, we’re treated to a motley crew of friends, each sketched out with care and consideration, making their survival not just desirable but absolutely essential. This is a delightful echo of “Scream,” where characters, savvy to the cliches that litter the landscape of horror cinema, navigate their terrifying predicaments with a winking self-awareness.

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The film’s comedy takes flight through a devious board game, a catalyst for both humor and suspense. The friends unearth this artifact and are challenged to confront and satirize elements of their culture, all while on the run from a masked menace. And although the film stumbles a bit in the third act, the comedic pace, sharp dialogue, and vibrant performances keep the audience engaged and entertained.

The marketing suggested a deep and biting satire of Black people’s relationship with horror, a promise that the film doesn’t quite fulfill. However, this is not a deal-breaker. The charisma and camaraderie of the cast – a blend of familiar faces and promising newcomers – compensate, forming a heartwarming ensemble that keeps the laughs coming.

The Blackening is more than just a solid horror-comedy. It’s a meaningful statement in cinema, highlighting the importance of representing Black voices in storytelling. The film joins the growing trend of Black horror, a movement rekindled by works like Get Out. This makes The Blackening not just a film, but a cultural experience – a testament to the power of representation, and an affirmation of Black culture’s crucial role in the ongoing narrative of cinema.

WORDS: brice.

IMAGE CREDIT: Lionsgate.

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