This isn’t your typical horror movie. Instead, The Blackening addresses pretty much every stereotype that there is in regard to Black people and scary movies all while keeping viewers on the edge of their seats.
“We are the stars of this narrative,” writer and producer Tracy Oliver told Shadow and Act in a recent interview with the cast and team behind the movie. “Usually, like when I was growing and watching a lot of horror movies, we were kind of like the side story or a token Black friend folded within the white narrative. In this one, I was like all the Black people are the stars of this. And I think, with some of the stereotypes, we just wanted to make sure, because I think Black people have such keen survival instincts, we wanted to make sure that they’re making choices that feel smart and authentic.”
In fact, the plot twist may just be the Blackest part of the film, which director Tim Story says was done with a purpose.
“It was just my job to make sure that we had you thinking one thing, as much as I could, so that later on when the twist happens, you didn’t see it coming,” he explained. “So, it was kind of easy, because [Tracy and Dewayne Perkins] gave me kind of the foundation to make it work.”
Perkins who both stars as a character synonymous to his given name and serves as a writer of the film, revealed how he and Oliver came up with the narrative in the first place.
“I remember when me and Tracy discussed it, we were in a hotel room because they were like, ‘Hey, we’re gonna get you this room, go order food and figure out this movie,’” he recalled. “And we’re just sitting there and we were like what is the perfect combination that really speaks to Black people, but also speaks to some trauma, but is also very silly and that was like the intersection of all of those things and being like, ‘Yeah, I’ve personally experienced, without giving too much away, what it is like to be in that environment.’”
For Sinqua Walls, being a part of this film allowed him the opportunity to be a part of a very timely conversation.
“I think the idea that everyone is represented and what we do in order to make it throughout the movie are things that I think stereotypically you’ve never seen before,” said Walls. “And I think the conversation that we’re having, what I really love about our story, from Tracy and Dewayne’s writing is the intellect and the intelligence of what we do to stay alive, but also to survive and fight this whole thing.”
And when it comes to surviving a horror film, Grace Byers admits that the first thing she’ll do after is “run,” no questions asked.
Other cast members like Melvin Gregg, Antoinette Robertson X Mayo, and Jermaine Fowler also gave Shadow and Act the rundown on some of the items that they’re packing in their survival kit.
“Mase, and here’s why,” explained Byers. “I need a weapon that is going to create distance because there’s a chance that you can get that weapon taken away from you.”
Watch the full interview above.
The Blackening is in theaters now.