Emergency (2022)

Emergency is a 2022 American satirical thriller film directed by Carey Williams from a screenplay by KD Dávila. It is a feature-length adaptation of Williams and Dávila’s 2018 short film of the same name. It premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

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‘Emergency’ Posters

‘Emergency’ Cast & Character Guide

  • RJ Cyler as Sean
  • Donald Elise Watkins as Kunle
  • Sebastian Chacon as Carlos
  • Sabrina Carpenter as Maddy
  • Maddie Nichols as Emma
  • Madison Thompson as Alice
  • Diego Abraham as Rafael
  • Summer Madison as Asa
  • Gillian Rabin as Bianca
  • Patrick Lamont Jr. as Malik
  • Robert Hamilton as Terence
  • Melanie Jeffcoat as Karen


Movie info

Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins) and his best friend, Sean (RJ Cyler), are both seniors in college about to embark on an epic night of Spring Break parties. Sean has the whole night planned out, including every party they will hit on their “legendary tour.” Kunle is down, yet mostly concerned with finishing up his mold experiment in his lab, as his acceptance to Princeton is hinging on the results. They return to their apartment to pre-game, yet find that their roommate, Carlos (Sebastian Chacon), left the door open. As they enter with trepidation, Sean and Kunle discover a drunk, semi-conscious White female they don’t know on the floor and an oblivious Carlos, who didn’t hear her come in over the videogame blaring in his ears. Kunle wants to call the cops but Sean vehemently opposes the idea concerned how it will look when the cops show up (two Black men, one Latino man and a passed out White woman). Together, Carlos, Sean and Kunle load the girl — who they nickname Goldilocks, but whose real name is Emma (Maddie Nichols) — into Sean’s van, with the intention of taking her somewhere safe rather than calling the police. Meanwhile, Emma’s sister, Maddy (Sabrina Carpenter), has realized that Emma left the party they were at, and begins to search for her in a drunk panic using Emma’s phone’s location. What ensues is a chaotic, hilarious, and tension-filled chase all over town as our trio grapples with their differences while attempting to bring Emma to safety.

  • Rating: R (Drug Use | Some Sexual References | Pervasive Language)
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama
  • Director: Carey Williams
  • Producer: Marty Bowen, John Fischer, Isaac Klausner
  • Writer: KD Davila
  • Release Date (Theaters): May 20, 2022  Limited
  • Release Date (Streaming): May 27, 2022
  • Runtime: 1h 45m
  • Distributor: Amazon Studios

Critic reviews for Emergency (2022)

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 95% of 57 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.3/10. Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 71 out of 100, based on 11 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.

At the Sundance Film Festival, Dávila earned the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.

Films about racism certainly aren’t a rarity, but what makes Emergency stand out is that it depicts the literal interruption of Black boy joy. Full Review

Aramide Tinubu – Essence

There’s just enough story and humor here for a SNL skit. Not much more. Full Review | Original Score: 2/4

Dwight Brown – National Newspaper Publishers Association

Seamlessly blending “one crazy night” comedy with serious themes, Emergency walks a tricky tight-rope with confidence. Full Review

Tomris Laffly – The Playlist

Emergency takes a tried-and-true buddy comedy formula and updates it for a new generation with a more urgent call for peace and understanding than its premise might initially suggest. Full Review

Brian Tallerico – RogerEbert.com

A comedy-drama that wrings you out with suspense and leaves you mourning the country we live in. Full Review

Ty Burr – Ty Burr’s Watch List

It’s a simple yet devastatingly effective approach: What happens to Superbad or Dazed and Confused if our heroes have to worry about getting murdered by the police? Full Review

Allison Shoemaker – Fox 10 Phoenix

These types of films can be grating because they try to tackle so many issues at once instead of perfecting one concept and building a world around that. Full Review

Valerie Complex – Deadline Hollywood Daily

Every interaction is rip-roaringly funny – even the more disquieting ones – resulting in a film where you can’t help but laugh at the riveting absurdity. Full Review | Original Score: B+

Siddhant Adlakha – indieWire

Emergency mostly stays close to the surface of the issues it presents, which results in a darkly funny but frustrating viewing experience. Full Review

Lovia Gyarkye – Hollywood Reporter

“Emergency,” in its racially aware way, turns into something that feels not unlike an ’80s comedy. It has winning flashes of wit, of observation, of telling satire. But it’s fundamentally about the situation. Full Review

Owen Gleiberman – Variety

An inviting mashup of familiar beats made fresh by a trio of grounded, endearing performances. Full Review | Original Score: 4/5

Adrian Horton – Guardian

Carey Williams’ “Emergency” is an elaborate, chaotically hilarious,intenselyterrifying journey worth taking. Full Review | Original Score: B

Robert Daniels – The Playlist

The sophomore effort from director Carey Williams (R#J) strikes a difficult equilibrium between its disquieting observations and comedic inclinations. Full Review

Carlos Aguilar – TheWrap

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