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Blackening, The


Stars: Grace Byers, Jermaine Fowler, Antoinette Robertson, Melvin Gregg, X Mayo, Jay Pharoah, Sinqua Walls, Yvonne Orji, Diedrich Bader

Director: Tim Story

More spoof thriller than spoof horror, this acceptable time-passer comes across as a light suspenser with a strong vein of (panic-stricken) comedy running through it.

Seven friends gather at that (rather well appointed) cabin in the woods for a reunion weekend of fun and games. In a preamble, we have seen their two hosts attacked, and the woman, Morgan (Orji), captured by a masked man while playing the bizarre game of The Blackening, whose vocal instructions come from a grotesque 'minstrel' figure mounted on the game board.

Soon, the already spooked septet find themselves trapped in the same games room, where they must answer the questions on The Blackening's game cards, or one of the them, or the imprisoned Morgan, will die.

A string of niche, often showbiz questions is successfully tackled before the hysterical participants refuse to play any more, triggering a manhunt in and out of the cabin.

The result is tolerable entertainment, ostensibly aimed at black audiences, with a few laughs here and there for those who can follow the often jabbered dialogue. We never do learn what happened to Morgan, but then no-one seemed to care.

David Quinlan

USA 2023. UK Distributor: Universal (Universal/LionsGate). Colour by Cinelease.
97 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 21 Aug 2023