2020 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 8: Antebellum (2020)

DAY 8. EQUAL SLICE: One where women get top billing.

Antebellum is a movie that would have been much better if I’d never seen the trailer and if the big reveal didn’t happen until much later in the movie. As it stands, it’s still interesting, but it would have really knocked me out if I had no idea what I was in store for. So that’s why I’m giving you the opportunity to look away now, because you deserve to see this with no expectations.

Eden (Janelle Monáe) is a slave who has tried to escape before and bears the brand of her owner, Him (Eric Lange). When another girl named Julia (Kiersey Clemons) hangs herself — killing both herself and her unborn child — after the treatment she endures and Eden is again assaulted by Him, she falls asleep.

Seriously, spoilers.

Eden is really Veronica Henley, a sociologist promoting her new book along with her friends — it’s nice to see Gabourey Sidibe in this — when she’s targeted by Elizabeth (Jena Malone) and her husband Jasper (Jack Hutton), drugged and taken to the plantation, which exists underknown to the rest of the modern world.

Now that she is part of the past — or at least a re-enactment of it — Eden/Veronica must escape or die.

Writers, directors and producers Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz have mostly worked in shorts before this, but the film has some moment of real slow motion beauty that was filmed using the actual lenses from Gone with the Wind.

Basically, consider this a woke The Village, except that movie had the sense to wait until — again — the close before the twist. That said, I wasn’t bored by this, but the times we meet Veronica, she seems much less likeble than Eden.

Regardless, any time that women of color can be the lead in any movie — much less a horror film — is a reason to celebrate. Check it out for yourself — it’s yet another movie where a woman done wrong sets a house on fire and walks awat in slow motion — and let me know what you think.

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