When deciding what movie to see at the theaters Thursday night, I compared new releases on Google Trends. Of the new releases this weekend, Eye in the Sky stole the show in terms of search traffic proportions, God is Not Dead 2 had meager traffic, and Meet the Blacks was a goose egg across the board. Seemingly off the map of Google searches, I was intrigued, and decided to table Eye in the Sky for my Friday matinee. The question is, then, was it a worthwhile choice?
Meet the Blacks is a horror comedy spoof a la Scary Movie following the Black family as they move into their new lavish home in Beverly Hills. And, of course, they also have to deal with the annual Purge. No, this isn’t Purge 3 (not yet). It is, instead, a retelling of the first Purge film using race relations as a source of comic gags.
What is immediately refreshing about this spoof movie is that it is not explicitly spoof for spoof’s sake. The characters are in a legitimate, as opposed to shoe-horned, situation with established reasoning and motivations behind them. Of course, when it all hits the fan, these motivations and reasoning falls apart completely (not unlike The Purge, but I don’t think this parallel was intended).
What is immediately disconcerting is the over-abundance of poor sound editing choices, whether it be cacophonous false jump scares, bad ADR, or random sound effects that can only be viewed as non-diegetic.
The acting ensemble across the board sees no major fault. Mike Epps leads the pack with a crass mouth and a face often plastered with indignant disgust. His character’s brother, played by Lil Duval, also fares well, bringing the most charisma out of anyone in the cast. Antagonist Gary Owen also brings much-needed charisma to the slapdash climax.
As much as the film follows more of a plot than the weaker spoof films out there, it does so at the sacrifice of parody itself. Parody, historically, means taking the source material and heightening it to embellish the absurdities inherent in their premises. Meet the Blacks takes the Purge formula and plot and mimics it with a race reversal element, which works to comedic effect at times. However, it simply isn’t enough to carry a feature length comedy, and the other miscellaneous gags don’t land.
Meet the Blacks is, in the end, a largely forgettable foray into horror spoof. The genre, as it stands in the mainstream, has seemingly run its course. The films no longer bring anything new to the table. While Meet the Blacks certainly has its comedic moments, there isn’t enough substance to fill a feature length film.
Those coming into this film looking for a great Paul Mooney cameo will be left sorely disappointed. Mooney has one line, and it is barely a line. I’ll tell you, it disappointed me.
As always, thank for reading!
Have you seen Meet the Blacks? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments!
—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)