Movie Reviews

Antebellum (2020)

antebellum-movie-review-poster-2020Director: Gerard Bush, Christopher Renz

Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery

Runtime: 105 Minutes

Main Cast: Janelle Monae, Eric Lange, Jena Malone, Jack Huston, Kiersey Clemons, Gabourey Sidibe, Marque Richardson, Robert Aramayo, Lily Cowles

Plot: Eden (Janelle Monae) finds herself trapped on a plantation, working as a slave in the cotton fields and is biding her time, waiting for the perfect moment to escape. Veronica (also Janelle Monae) is a hugely successful business woman and black rights activist but is finding herself being stalked by an unsettling woman with questionable motives. Eden and Veronica’s stories are entwined…but how?

My Thoughts: I’m the biggest sucker for marketing, and I know it, which makes it worse. I was so glad Antebellum got a VoD release rather than be pushed back in cinemas. Why? Because my dumb-ass read “The Producer of Get Out and US” and translated that as Antebellum being Jordan Peele’s latest horror. Antebellum WISHES is could be Jordan Peele’s latest horror. My biggest gripe is that the entire movie is already there in the trailer, plot twist and all. WHY?! Give me the software and I’ll edit you a trailer for it. It might not be good but it’ll at least not spoil the entire movie. Let’s say the trailer for Sixth Sense (1999) included a clip of Bruce Willis’s character being murdered, that’s how revealing it is.

Anyway, it’s not all bad and I’m not here solely to rant. Janelle Monae is incredible and brings so much energy into this movie. Jena Malone plays a very over the top character but she’s fun to watch, at least. The story itself is interesting and kept me engaged throughout, but I guess I was waiting for a twist that wouldn’t happen because without knowing, I already knew it. I realise I’m back to ranting again. I promise I enjoyed parts of this! The scenes at the plantation were the strongest and the opening to the movie was particularly strong and unsettling. See? I can be positive.

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But it always brings me back to the ending. Sure, there’s a bit more to the twist that I didn’t see coming but it winds up feeling anti climatic because we’re never given a why. What was the point in it all? What was the antagonist’s motive? There’s a moment of clarity and then bam! Credits. Oh.

Best Bit:  The shot of Eden walking away with the torch held high was nothing short of awesome. Just like in Birds of Prey (2020) and Ready or Not (2019), I feel like every movie needs a scene wherein a bad ass woman walks away slowly from a burning building.

Worst Bit: Did we ever get an explanation for the creepy little girl following Veronica around in the hotel?!

Fun Trivia: Gerard Bush got the idea from a nightmare he once had. He initially thought it would be a good basis for a short story, but he later developed it with co-director Christopher Renz into a screenplay for a feature film.

My Rating: 2 out of 5 bold lipsticks that I definitely think I could pull off.

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