In the horror comedy film The Blackening (2022), the killer mainly uses a crossbow to hunt down the main characters.

At one point, Dewayne (played by Dewayne Perkins) manages to shoot the killer using a crossbow. Here is the relevant dialogue that follows:

Dewayne: I'm going to jail.
Lisa: How'd you know how to do that?
Nnamdi: Yeah, bro, that seems like an exclusively white weapon.

I understand that The Blackening mainly satirizes tropes involving Black characters in horror films. How is the crossbow a "white weapon"? Is the use of the crossbow a reference to a particular trope?

What significance does the use of the crossbow have in The Blackening?

  • There are so many differences of use/user characteristics between bow and crossbow that almost any joke can be made. Bow/crossbow // black/white. Without having seen the movie, if you say "satyr" you say (almost) "anything allowed" without racism IMO. Not sure it's trope-related
    – OldPadawan
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 8:51
  • I suspect it has to do with the past time of hunting in general.
    – Yorik
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 13:54
  • This might be edifying: tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BowsVersusCrossbows Commented Jul 15, 2023 at 0:21

1 Answer 1


Satire is hard to define or explain in its finer points, as this requires nuance and deep knowledge of the subject matters.

I'm throwing my two cents in as a cinephile in general, not specifically horror films nor films primarily aimed at a specific demographic.

I found no further info on the movie's IMDB page so I won't mention anything there, but Todd Wilcox provided a neat link in TVTropes, Bows Vs Crossbows

The most relevant section:

Crossbows were the first of the two to disappear from European warfare, since by the 16th century firearms such as the arquebus had stolen their niche as the easy-to-teach mass weapon of the battlefield; crossbows continued to stick around around as recreational and hunting weapons. For another century or more the English tried to supplement arquebus armies with units of longbowmen because they could still beat the arquebus in shooting speed. However, the ease of equipping and training soldiers with guns and the dwindling numbers of skilled warbow archers eventually retired the bow from warfare as well. Western Europe was actually a bit of an outlier in terms of how early they gave up military archery, since warriors in many other parts of Eurasia liked to arm themselves with both musket and bow for different applications well into the 19th century.

Meaning, crossbows were used primarily in warfare in Europe while wars in the US have historically been fought with firearms.

Also in popular media the most well-known crossbow user is arguably Darryl Dixon from Walking Dead, who is not a Black actor.

So, not an exclusively white weapon but historically and generally, it's not as common as other weapons in Horror movies.

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