October 21, 2020

‘Antebellum’ Review: Janelle Monáe In Contrived And Confusing Socially Conscious Horror Hybrid

Antebellum is clearly a horror film — of sorts — that tries hard but largely fails to be the socially relevant take on systemic racism that it sets out to be. Jordan Peele set a very high mark for this subgenre with his Oscar-winning Get Out and follow-up Us. Those movies (which came from some of the same producers as this), while eliciting the required chills of the horror genre, also served as pertinent reminders of the rampant systemic racism still existing after 400 years in America, as well as successfully offering a wickedly satirical POV. Antebellum, from the writing and directing team of Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, takes itself too seriously to pull off its ambitious hybrid of pre-Civil War slavery in the Antebellum South mixed with a contemporary take that is meant to show us sadly how little has changed, despite the widely divergent societal status enjoyed by the dual parts its star gets to play.

 

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