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  • Writer's pictureRob Ervin

Don Reviews "The Blackening"

As societies change, so does Hollywood. For example: Mel Brooks stated that there is no way he could release Blazing Saddles today mainly because of modern sensibilities. There are also times when those same sensibilities can be used to parody past norms in films, and The Blackening is one of those films.

Tim Story (Ride Along) directs this comedy/horror film starring Grace Byers, Antoinette Robertson, Dewayne Perkins, Melvin Gregg, Jay Pharoah, Jermain Fowler, and X Mayo. The story here involves seven African American classmates who hit the road to spend the Juneteenth holiday at a rental cabin deep in the woods. While hanging out and partying, they find a board game that involves them trying to escape a killer through answering questions and completing tasks. As the game goes on, life starts to imitate art as they find out there is someone out to actually kill them.

Let me say this up front: The Blackening is a film that will definitely offend some with its stereotypical portrayals and language. It is done in a comedic way, but I am not sure that everyone will see the humor as it is presented. There is some violence which should be expected but as a lover of horror films, many of the plot points were very predictable. I did like the attempt at a mix of horror and comedy, which also helped the script move along nicely to clock in at just under an hour and forty-five minutes.

Jermaine Fowler stands out here on multiple fronts from his performance to the way his character is presented as the opposite of the stereotypical roles for this type of film. The trailer pitches this film as being proud of all the stereotypes, and I believe that a director like Story was the right choice to bring it to the screen correctly. There are a couple of good horror scares here along with a few more that had me laugh out loud, but there should have been more time put into the script itself and less on the stereotyping and offensive comedy, The Blackening could have been a better film. All of that being said, I am barely recommending this film as on cable in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep, your DVR is empty, and nothing else is on.

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