2023. R. 97 mins. Directed by Tim Story
Parodies can be a hard genre to make worthwhile. Sometimes it can be difficult to take something that a lot of people enjoy and poke fun at it, but also make it clever enough to make an impact. We usually see one or two a year and the ones that stand out are too few and far between. The horror genre seems to be the best genre to take a stab at (no pun intended) when it comes to trying to parody a genre. Movies like Cabin in the Woods as well as Tucker and Dale vs. Evil do a great job at taking the typical tropes from horror movies and making fun of them in a clever way. The Blackening is the latest release to try something new and put its own spin on many common stereotypes in horror movies. Director Tim Story and company attempt to poke fun at the stereotypes involving black characters in horror movies and it makes for what is easily one of the funniest movies of the year.
The story follows seven black friends who plan a get together on Juneteenth weekend at a cabin in the woods. Most of the group haven't seen each other in years but they all fall right back into place with one another as they plan to have a great weekend together. While at the cabin the group discovers a secret game room where inside lays a board game called The Blackening. Our group soon finds out that they are now in the middle of a game of life or death as a mysterious voice now tells them to play the game and win or else, they will die one by one.
This was a pleasant surprise to see. So far in the year there haven't been too many comedies that have stood out. The Blackening may very well be the best comedy thus far in the year. There is a lot packed into this little comedy but there is so much to enjoy. Tim Story is able to get so much out of so little. With an extremely talented cast and well written script you couldn't have asked for a better combination. Everybody is on their game here and the laughs don't stop coming.
Not only does the movie do a great job at having fun with black character tropes but it's able to have fun with the horror genre as a whole. There never really is a dull moment as the story goes along and the jokes keep on flying. At times there are jokes you may miss because you're still laughing at the previous one. Everybody in the cast is really bringing their all and there is not a weak link in the group. The standouts are definitely Jermaine Fowler as Clifton and Dewayne Perkins, who also co-wrote the movie, as Dewayne. Their characters steal every scene and they have so many key moments throughout the movie.
While there are some minor things from time to time that don't work, The Blackening is an all-around entertaining watch. It is consistently funny throughout; the cast all play off one another quite well and if you're a fan of the horror genre you should get a kick out of the tropes, they poke fun at. This gets a full recommendation from myself and it is worth seeking out.