“The Blackening” is about to finally change the narrative of black characters in horror—and it’s about time.
Co-written by Tracy Oliver and Dwayne Perkins, the Tim Story-directed horror-comedy mashup features Perkins, Grace Byers, Jermaine Fowler, Melvin Gregg, X Mayo, Antoinette Robertson and Sinqua Walls. , Jay Pharaoh, and Yvonne Orge — Juneteen’s cabin trip goes badly (and brutally) and they all find themselves playing a dangerous game with a crazed killer. This scenario may sound familiar, but it’s unlike anything audiences, especially black audiences, have ever seen.
With comedic moments, satirical elements, and a heroic endgame, “The Blackening” is a classic in which black characters cannot control their destinies, let alone survive to the end of the film. It’s a rarity compared to the horror stories in . As such, the cast is honored to bring this unique story to the big screen with the sound message it deserves. In fact, Robertson told POPSUGAR, “It felt like a gift.”
“Every time I see this work, every time I hear someone talk about it, I feel overwhelming pride in being a part of it.”
“It was so well written. It’s so nice to see writers who take the time to portray black people to the fullest instead of being diluted with whiteness,” said the American Black Film Festival (ABFF). Ahead of the screening of the film, she said. June 15th. “I feel really good” [Oliver and Perkins] I wanted to do it and show the world unapologetically that this is us and not the ideas and notions you have of us. “
Walls echoed his co-star’s opinion, adding, “For me, it always starts with the page. It’s been really blessed…it came through the Black Lives Matter movement.’, coming out of the pandemic, reading this, thinking, ‘Oh, this is so clever. This is so timely. It’s based on information. It’s written by black authors. It has a point of view.” “So I was proud to be a part of this production. I feel a sense of pride.”
According to Oliver, her and Perkins’ script for The Blackening began as an entertaining short film Perkins made several years ago. Comedy Central viewers may remember her 2018 sketch that asked the same question as the new movie. “If the entire cast of a horror movie were black, who would die first?”
“I love the fact that I can just be myself without thinking metaphorically about how I look through someone else’s lens.”
“I just thought it was funny and I love that they are all black and have different types of black characters,” Oliver explained to POPSUGAR. He also said that this was his first time collaborating with Perkins, saying that the two had a “similar sense of silly humor,” a “shared love of comedy and horror,” and an “embracing of pop and black culture.” He added that it helped bring it to life. She said, “All those things come together very well in this film.”
As heralded ahead of its global debut, “The Blackening” satirizes horror tropes that have historically treated the role of black characters as plot throwaways. But with a mix of fresh storytelling and new personality, the film more or less works like an anthem to a genre that lacked black nuances. “I love the fact that I can just be who I am without thinking metaphorically about how I look through someone else’s lens. It’s about watching,” Greg says.
Mayo’s favorite trope in The Blackening, she says, was Perkins’ black queer man. “Never a docile character. He’s not trying to serve the rest of the cast. He doesn’t have all the answers,” she explains. “When it comes to black, queer people, it’s just [normally] Very one-note.so [seeing] My favorite, my baby, Dwayne, did it on set and it was great. “
The cast all agree that “The Blackening” pushes the boundaries of fear for black people. The reason, Gregg suggests, is “because it engages us in an unapologetic way that we don’t usually see when we’re alone.” “This is a black-to-black perspective written for a culturally innovative film,” Pharaoh added. Perkins, on the other hand, believes the film offers “a breath of fresh air that enables black people to act black and use their innate to survive.” Because we are survivors. “We are not giving up,” he added.
“We are not tokens. We are not monoliths. We are the protagonists of our own stories.”
Perhaps most importantly, ‘The Blackening’ asserted black characters’ rights in the horror field, allowing for the existence of authentic black horror stories. “I love horror satire, and the fact that we have our own means a lot to me,” says Fowler.
A sentiment that resonates among the cast is that The Blackening’s powerful presentation is also a message about our freedom. “Throughout the movie, the theme was friends fighting for life and loyalty. We think that’s the theme of ‘Juneteenth.’ explained Robertson in the film’s ABFF Q&A.
As she pointed out to POPSUGAR, “When you have this many black starring, black people of all shades leading a movie, it’s a statement. We’re not a token. We’re not a monolith. We are the heroes of our own story.” ”
That’s why Pharaoh has high hopes for the impact of this movie. “This is going to be a cult classic,” he declares. “People will be talking about this for years and years and about the opportunities more black people have from this movie. Tracy and Dwayne speak up and more and more black people we are with.” You’ll see it and say, ‘We can do that too.'” Hollywood, I hope you’re listening.
“The Blackening” is now in theaters.