Thursday, July 25, 2024

‘The Blackening’ turns stereotypes upside down



By Brionne Thompson 

The movie “The Blackening” is a horror and comedy movie following a group of college friends returning for a reunion. This movie has gems like star of HBO’s “Insecure” Yvonne Orji and Dewayne Perkins, who originally created this comedy sketch. 

It’s a play on how usually in predominantly white horror films, the first person to die is the movie’s only black character. The movie’s premise is literally “They Can’t All Die First,” which is honestly hilarious, coming from a Black woman. 

The movie takes off in the forest with Morgan (Orji) and her boyfriend Shawn (Jay Pharoah) exploring the cabin they rented out for their friends. While exploring the basement of the cabin, they find a board game called “The Blackening” with a face in the middle wearing Blackface. 

While Shawn and Morgan are uncomfortable by this, the game starts speaking to them and provoking them to play. The game revolves around figuring out who the “Blackest” person is, allowing them to win. 

But when Shawn and Morgan can’t answer the first question fully-“Name a Black character who survived a horror movie.”-they end up being killed. 

When the rest of the six friends arrive at the cabin, they search for Morgan and Shawn and come across the board game and decide to play. 

The questions create a chaotic atmosphere, the main objective being to “eliminate the person you deem as ‘the most Black’ which begins to uncover all of the stereotypes and signifiers of being a Black person. 

Some of these were funny, like Perkins’ character explaining how he is exempt from the game because he’s going to need therapy after this traumatizing experience, and says: “Did you just hear what I said? Black people don’t do therapy!” 

This horror movie definitely has more jokes than jump scares. Personally, I think they crack a lot of fun with our modern-day horror movies. If a character gets stabbed in their arm, they’re automatically out of running and can’t walk the rest of the movie, leading them to be killed easily. King (Melvin Gregg) gets shot in the shoulder with an arrow, twice. 

And even when it’s time to do the legendarily-stupid “character-split-up,” he says “I got shot twice, in the same hole. It hurts like hell, but my legs work fine, I can run.” 

Between that and the overly-nosy police officer named Mr. White snooping around their cabin, this film uncovers how ludicrous some stereotypes can be. 

This film almost has the same undertones as the show “The Boondocks” because it takes control of the narrative and owns it. 

This film redefines characteristics and perspectives and doesn’t take away from the lighthearted fun during the movie. 

Films like this are needed in the film industry. From when theaters became a thing, and acting in them became a serious job, Black people usually aren’t given any huge roles, such as that of the main character. Usually if they are in a form of media, they die or don’t get that much development.  

But it’s a very special thing that we are now developing horror, drama and philosophical movies with an all-Black cast, like “Candyman,” “Us,” or “The American Society of Magical Negroes.” 

It shows that we are multidimensional, and just as special to develop as other castmates and actors.


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