If you’re Black, chances are that at some point in your life, your blackness has been called into question. In ‘The Blackening,’ a group of friends find their very lives hinging on exactly that.
This morning we’re excited to share the trailer for ‘The Blackening,’ which centers around a group of Black friends who reunite for a Juneteenth weekend getaway only to find themselves trapped in a remote cabin with a twisted killer. Forced to play by his rules, the friends soon realize this ain’t no motherfu**in’ game. Directed by Tim Story (Ride Along, Think Like A Man, Barbershop) and co-written by Tracy Oliver (Girls Trip, Harlem) and Dewayne Perkins (The Amber Ruffin Show, Brooklyn Nine-Nine), The Blackening skewers genre tropes and poses the sardonic question: if the entire cast of a horror movie is Black, who dies first?
We chatted with the filmmakers, co-writers Dewayne Perkins and Tracy Oliver and director Tim Story ahead of the trailer release.
Our first question definitely had to be whether they would even consider having a reunion in the middle of nowhere, like the friends in this movie.
“I definitely would not,” Tracy Oliver admitted. “I’m down to meet up with the homies but it needs to be in a place where there are other people, where we have good reception, where there are neighbors, I can walk and there are other people. I don’t ever want to be isolated. Period.”
“So you want to be in the city?” Tim Story laughed.
“There’s a line in the trailer, ‘Really bitch? A cabin in the woods?’” Dewayne Perkins agreed. “That was serious. We can go somewhere with room service, a resort. I’m trying to rest. That’s not going to be restful. Me full of fear? So no.”
The popularity of past Black horror projects like Candyman and Tales From the Hood and the more recent success of projects from Jordan Peele have proven that our community loves the horror genre, but co-writers Dewayne Perkins and Tracy Oliver told Global Grind that when they set out to adapt Perkins’ 2018 Comedy Central sketch into a feature-length film, there weren’t a ton of examples to help guide their way.
“Me and Tracy, we both are lovers of horror and we watched a lot,” Perkins told Global Grind. “It was hard because there weren’t a lot of comps to compare to what we were doing. We used what we know and love about horror and using the sketch as a blueprint, wanted to expand on those characters within the genre of horror, so any kind of subverting what we know and love about horror. That was mainly the inspiration. Trying to make something that fell in line with horror but also in line with comedy and make it something new because what we were doing hasn’t been done before.”
Oliver has a proven track record of beautifully portraying diverse Black characters in projects like Girls Trip and Harlem, so it should come as no surprise that The Blackening offers up a beautiful ensemble of friends facing an extremely challenging moment in their lives.
“You have someone whose parents are from Africa and someone whose dad is white, so many different variations of what it means to be Black but they are all coming together because they do identify as Black, but what that means for each person is incredibly different,” Tracy Oliver told Global Grind about The Blackening characters. “I think what happens in Hollywood is because we always are kind of shoehorned into a white person’s narrative so we get very limited portrayals. We were like, ‘How cool is it that we can have so much diversity but they’re all Black?’ That’s what’s kind of crazy and cool about it. And we’re still not even covering everybody. There are just so many different kinds of Blackness and personalities but they’re all friends too. I think that’s important to point out. You can have all these different backgrounds but they’re all coming together in some way and have a commonality as well.”
“That was the impetus for the original short,” Dewayne Perkins added. “If it was a life or death situation where you had to quantify Blackness, what would that conversation look like? It was inherently not a real question. It’s an impossible question to answer because it’s really predicated on the person and how they identify personally with their own Blackness.
As a queer Black person, I’ve had interactions where when I was younger people would be like, ‘Black men aren’t gay’ and I’m like, ‘But I literally am.’ That’s stupid. The film speaks on that. That’s the uniting factor between all of us. We’re all Black people and we get to dictate what Blackness means to us that is why Blackness is not monolithic and why the culture is so rich because we’re able to bring different parts of us to the pot of what Blackness is, creating the melting pot that is Blackness.
Check out the trailer below:
The Blackening arrives in theatres Juneteenth weekend — on June 16!