Janelle Monáe Takes A Star Turn In Twisted New Horror Film, ‘Antebellum’

I may be the only black person to have never watched the Oscar-winning film, Get Out.  It’s not that I didn’t want to when it first came out. On the contrary, it looked quite provocative. However, I am completely freaked out by story narratives dealing with mind control or strong characters of sound mind and body being forced into positions of subservience by a maniacal presence. To that point, I am still unsettled today by the robot malfunction scene in the original 1975 film version of The Stepford Wives.

Get Out has been described by some as a cross between The Stepford Wives and Roots. The film is a bizarre hybrid in which a young black protagonist finds himself in a fight for his life, escaping from a town where through hypnosis, all the black people have been transformed into submissive, slave-like caricatures of their former selves. It’s a terrifying proposition to fathom, and it was a film so intriguing and well done that it garnered four Oscar nominations in 2017, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, and its winning category Best Original Screenplay.

Antebellum is the latest terrifying thriller from the producer of the acclaimed films Get Out and Us, and groundbreaking directors Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz (Bush+Renz). As exciting new voices in filmmaking, the team returns this spring with singer and actress Janelle Monáe in her first lead role as successful author Veronica Henley. 

Janelle Monáe in a scene from the new horror/thriller Antebellum
Janelle Monáe in a scene from the new horror/thriller Antebellum

The trailers for Antebellum are creepy AF, in which Veronica, a strong, empowered black professional, modern woman of today, suddenly finds herself trapped in a horrifying reality, somehow transported backward stuck in the antebellum era of the south (the period of slavery leading up to the civil war). During the few seconds I watched of the trailer, I sat there still and disturbed at the prospect of what it would be like to wake up one day and find myself in 1860, owned as property and assigned a lifetime slave labor and no rights. That mere idea is horrifying. There are over 48,000,000 African American’s – and literally this would be our worst nightmare.

The Antebellum trailer does little to explain how this transference of time happens to Veronica except for the insinuation that somehow time itself has a mechanism by which it involuntarily “selects” people and “sends” them to another time to help fight for those who are unable to fend for themselves. It’s a trippy concept and promises to be unnerving to witness as Veronica must uncover the mind-bending mystery of how she got there before it’s too late.

Janelle Monáe in a scene from the new horror/thriller Antebellum

Antebellum also stars Marque Richardson II, Eric Lang, Jack Huston, Kiersey Clemons, Tongayi Chirisa, Rob Aramayo, Lily Cowles, and Jena Malone and Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe.

This piece is an opinion piece by one Contributing Writer for Instinct Magazine and may not reflect the opinion of the magazine or other Contributing Writers.

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