The producer of Us and Get Out, Sean McKittrick, is once again giving us a mind-boggling horror. With the recent release of the trailer, Antebellum seems set to live up to reputation.
Janelle Monáe plays successful author Veronica who seems to be ‘chosen’ to travel back in time as a slave in the southern states of the U.S during the 1800s. “There are precious things,” the first trailer states, “that can never be lost: family, happiness, hope. Unless you are chosen.” Whilst the first few sequences seem to show an idyllic life, in classic McKittrick fashion, preconceptions are flipped 25 seconds into the trailer and things get out of control.
“What if fate chose you to save us from our past?” seems like an inherently sci-fi concept, but Antebellum presents no easy-going topic matter. Where Get Out was described by Variety as a “searing satirical critique of systemic racism,” this latest release appears to have a more serious than satire-like tone. And it’s a fitting one, given Antebellum already feels like a film with something to say. Not only is the plot focused on such a specific period of history (I doubt we’ll spend much time in the modern world by the looks of things), but the name itself refers to the era before the US Civil War in 1861. If Monáe is actually in 19th century America or if the events just take place in her head is up for debate—but this Antebellum trailer doesn’t shy away from the injustices of the past.
Jordan Peele, however, is not taking the directorial role on this one: Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz will be taking the reins. It looks like the studio helming Antebellum, Lionsgate, are already impressed with their work, signing them on to write and direct Rapture, a film in which the global population vanishes. Perhaps think Avengers: Infinity War—but make it horror. As if Spider-Man fading to dust wasn’t terrifying enough.
Antebellum will be released in North America on 21 August, but as of yet there’s no news on a UK release date.
Words by Harriet Metcalfe