The Blackening 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 269, September/October 2023

WSR Score3.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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Pervasive language, violence, and drug use
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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Tim Story
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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"The Blackening" follows seven Black friends reunited for a Juneteenth weekend getaway only to find themselves trapped in a remote cabin with a masked killer who forces them to play a twisted board game by his rules, which they soon realize ain't no mother ****** game. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Director Tim Story and Writers Tracy Oliver and Dewayne Perkins; five featurettes: "Do The Write Thing" (HD 13:32), "They Can't All Talk First" (HD 08:53), "Shall We Play A Game? (HD 03:50), "Cabin In The Woods" (HD 03:11) and "'Who's The Blackest?' Game Show" (HD 11:28); deleted Dewayne dance scene (HD 01:23), outtakes (HD 04:30), theatrical trailer and a digital copy.

The 2.39:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 4K Ultra HD HDR10 picture, reviewed on a VIZIO Quantum X P85QX-JI UHD/HDR display, was photographed digitally and sourced from a 4K Digital Intermediate. Picture quality is excellent with superb HDR contrast that delivers deep black levels, revealing shadow delineation and natural white levels. The color palette is nicely saturated with natural warm and rich hues that appear perfectly realistic. Flesh tones are perfectly natural throughout, even in the predominant dark scenes. Spot lighting is creative and effective in illuminating characters and their facial features. Resolution is superb with fine detail exhibited throughout. The production design of the interior of the cabin is complex with great textural detail. Facial features exhibit excellent skin definition, mustaches, beards and hair. Clothing highlights are texturally revealing. Objects are well defined as well. This is a great looking picture that is set in a dark environment with excellent lighting effects. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is dynamic sounding with lots of sound effects supported with deep and at times sub-25 bass that adds weight to the directionalized sonics. Atmospherics also are realistic sounding. The orchestral score is powerful, dynamic and with an aggressive enveloping surround presence throughout with directionalized instrumentation supported with creative sound effects. Along with dialogue the music and effects, including Foley sound effects deliver superb fidelity. Dialogue is nicely recorded, apparently using body microphones for clarity, though the result is a bit forward sounding and wanting in spatial integration. In the enclosed "game room," sound effect directionality is excellent, even in the case of the voice that startlingly emanates from the game's figurehead.

The Immersive Sound element is comprised of an aggressive extension of the orchestral score, at times the game's voice, a variety of sound effects and atmospherics. This is a very effective height layer experience that enhances the soundfield's dimensional space.

This is a well-crafted aggressive holosonic® spherical surround soundtrack. (Gary Reber)