Antoinette Robertson stars as Lisa in “The Blackening” (Photo Credit: Glen Wilson/Lionsgate).
(“The Blackening” trailer courtesy of Lionsgate Movies)
Black folks, if you have a pending reservation for a vacation rental in a secluded area, please do not see “The Blackening” until after you have returned from your adventures.
However, if you do choose to watch “The Blackening” before your upcoming summer vacation, one can only hope you have a solid refund policy because “The Blackening” is basically a laugh out loud cautionary tale that people from that certain demographic might want to limit their trips to the usual suspects like Atlanta, Washington D.C. or even Detroit.
But when colored folks start venturing into wooded cabins in states like Vermont, their black lives might not matter much.
Therefore, keep your Black behind in places like Harlem and not hick town, U.S.A.
“The Blackening” begins much in the same way that “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?” began.
A group of Black college friends pick a destination for a reunion, in this case 10 years after graduation.
But instead of choosing a five-star resort, the group of college friends choose the sticks.
And just like “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?” not all the friends are on good terms at the time of the reunion.
In “The Blackening,” Dewayne (Dewayne Perkins) and Lisa (Antoinette Robinson, “Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots”) are best friends.
When Lisa has gone through a bad break up, it is Dewayne who is there to wipe the tears from Lisa’s eyes.
Both Dewayne and Lisa cannot wait until they get to the cabin to see their old crew.
But when Lisa lets its slip that there will be eight people at the cabin, Dewayne trips out because he knew about seven people showing up.
However, eight is more than enough in Dewayne’s eyes.
In “The Blackening,” Dewayne has a problem with Lisa’s ex-boyfriend Nnamdi (Sinqua Walls, “White Men Can’t Jump”).
Although radio personality Charlemagne tha God claims that Black men do not cheat, Dewayne would call B.S. on that presumption.
Shanika (X Mayo) is the ghetto fabulous woman out of the bunch.
She is educated like all her peers.
However, she refuses to let education get in the way of her hood ways.
She actually says the N-word more than Black men, and that is often not the case for a woman.
In “The Blackening,” King (Melvin Gregg) is the antithesis of Shanika.
King is a reformed thug.
He has a degree.
He has a White wife.
And he refuses to pull the strap on anyone, under any circumstances.
Or so he thinks.
In “The Blackening,” Allison (Grace Byers, “Empire”) is the least Black of the crew because of her White father.
But that does not stop her from representing her Black roots to the fullest.
She even knows the second verse of the Black National Anthem.
Not even Nnamdi knows it and he is technically the Blackest of the bunch because he is South African.
However, from a cultural aspect, Clifton (Jermaine Fowler, “Coming 2 America”) is the least Black of the crew.
He does not know how to play spades.
There’s not a Black cookout or family reunion in America that does not have a game of spades and game of dominoes going constantly.
To add insult to injury, Clifton voted for former President Donald Trump.
Naming his character Clifton seems apropos because it sounds close to Carlton, as in the character from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
Also showing up for the reunion will be Morgan (Yvonne Orji) and Shawn (Jay Pharoah).
However, the couple is missing in action when the rest of the friend group arrives at the cabin for some strange reason.
As soon as everyone arrives at the secluded cabin, some strange activity begins taking place.
It is as if the friends are not alone in the cabin.
In fact, when the friends begin sensing that they are not alone, they assume it is Morgan and Shawn playing practical jokes on them.
Therefore, they begin searching the cabin for their playful friends.
In “The Blackening,” the group stumbles upon the game room.
While initially fascinated by the number of games that the homeowner has, the fascination turns into fear when they realize that they are locked in the room.
The friends notice a board game called The Blackening and immediately become intrigued.
However, some are put off by the Sambo looking figure on the middle of the board.
To make matters worse, this Sambo talks.
The Sambo forces the friends to play The Blackening, or they will die.
To advance in the board game, the friends must answer questions like how many seasons did dark-skinned Aunt Viv play on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” versus light-skinned Aunt Viv?
How many Black characters appeared on “Friends”?
And what does the NAACP stand for?
Is it, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People?
Or is it, Negroes at Applebee’s Cooking Pasta?
Answer wrong and the friends will, unfortunately, not live long.
While “The Blackening” will probably not win praise from many critics, it is still extremely funny and fun.
In the Black community, many people often complain that the first character to die in horror films is often the Black character.
But as the one sheet for “The Blackening” explains, they cannot all die first.
Unfortunately, some of the jokes in “The Blackening” are sophomoric.
Furthermore, the ending is predictable.
But that does not stop it from being enjoyable.
More importantly, that does not stop it from being a cautionary tale for Black folks to keep their behinds out of the woods and away from some vacation rentals because the owner might be a psycho killer who does not believe that Black lives matter.