“The Blackening” was one of 2023’s best horror surprises. The Juneteenth slasher movie is a celebration of Black comedy, as it takes horror tropes and spins them on their head. While the Tim Story directed movie definitely delivers more laughs than scares, it’s worth revisiting — especially with the great collection of bonus features.
The setup is one that’ll be familiar to fans — a group of friends rent out a cabin for a reunion, then get stalked by a serial killer. What makes “The Blackening” so fun is that it uses these familiar trappings to its advantage. Featuring an all-Black main cast highlighted by Grace Byers and Jermaine Fowler, the characters take the situation seriously, but they’re very self-aware of the situation and reference horror films. Think “Scream” rather than “Scary Movie.” The script is sharp, but what really makes the jokes land are the great deliveries, as the characters truly acts like a group of friends.
Every member of “The Blackening”’s cast is given a chance to shine throughout the film (especially Diedrich Bader in a great supporting role) and no subject matter is off limits. Everything from Donald Trump to “Friends” and O’Reilly Auto Parts are mentioned in hilarious one-offs. Things never get too tense despite the subject matter, and jokes are rapid-fire. You’ll never get too much of a reprieve from laughing.
What really makes “The Blackening” 4K and Blu-ray special is the wide array of special features that are just as funny as the feature film. The meatiest segment is “Do the Write Thing,” a 13-minute featurette focused on the writing process and how the film came together. A fun Q&A segment and a hilarious game show are also highlights, while a deleted scene and a reel of outtakes are also fun to watch. Overall, there are over 40 minutes of special features here and I enjoyed them all. The commentary track is well worth checking out, too. It features Story and writers Tracy Oliver and Dewayne Perkins, who stars in “The Blackening” and wrote the original short that inspired the film. This was Perkins’ first time writing a movie, so it’s interesting to hear how Oliver helped the talented comedian find his voice for the script. The stories of filming are a blast, and it’s an easy listen. As a film, “The Blackening” is a reminder of the sharp comedies that used to be a regular presence in movie theaters.
As a home video release, the 4K and Blu-ray release is a throwback to when home releases were filled with bonus content rather than the streamlined affair most are now. From the hilarious commentary track that delivers plenty of laughs and insight to the well-edited featurettes, this is a home release worth supporting if you dig horror comedies. It’s an inherently rewatchable comedy that offers some great laughs and a fun twist on the horror genre. Three out of five stars. ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️