Antebellum is a 2020 horror film written/produced/directed by Gerard Bush & Christopher Renz (Kill Jay-Z, 17 Seventeen, Canvases of Courage, & Shame). It was produced by Sean McKittrick (Get Out, US, Donnie Darko, BlacKkKlansman, The Box, & Southland Tales). The budget was $15 million & it grossed $6.9 million during it’s overseas theatrical run. In a Louisiana slave plantation run by Confederate soldiers, slaves are treated harshly & not allowed to speak without permission. Those who attempt to escape are killed & their bodies burned in a crematorium. After a failed escape attempt, a black man named Eli (played by: Tongayi Chirisa from iZombie, Palm Springs, & The Jim Gaffigan Show) watches as his wife is murdered. A woman who had been assisting them is later brutally beaten & branded until she submits to being called Eden (played by: Janelle Monáe from Homecoming, Moonlight, Welcome to Marwen, & Harriet).
The daughter of the plantation owner Elizabeth (played by: Jena Malone from The Neon Demon, Donnie Darko, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, & Nocturnal Animals) names one of her new slaves Julia (played by: Kiersey Clemons from Scoob!, Flatliners, Dope, & Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising) & places in the care of Eden. Confederate soldier named Daniel (played by: Robert Aramayo from Game of Thrones, Nocturnal Animals, & Mindhunter) is attracted to Julia & arranges her to his cabin later where he beats her. Eden hears a ringing cell phone. In the modern era a cell phone ringing awakens Eden. She is actually Veronica Henley, a renowned sociologist. She is preparing to take a trip to speak at a seminar & promote her brand new book. She goes away from her husband Nick (played by: Marque Richardson from Dear White People & True Blood) & their daughter Kennedi (played by: London Boyce). She has a bizarre encounter with Elizabeth & it messes with her mind. Elizabeth’s husband Jasper (played by: Jack Huston from Fargo, The Irishman, Mr. Mercedes, & Boardwalk Empire) knocks her out & kidnaps her. She finds out that Veronica & Eden are actually the same person. She is brought back to what she thought was a nightmare. Can she escape the plantation & return to her normal life????
Antebellum could have been so much better if it just stuck to one concept rather than trying to twist things up. How it was promoted & how it ended up were different two things which left audiences scratching their head so don’t go into this expecting that great trailer that hyped up everyone for it. The slave & the plantation sequences were actually pretty crazy. It was a unique direction & it hasn’t been done much in the horror genre but unfortunately a decent amount of the feature goes back to modern times where nothing happens for awhile. It gets confusing & it feels more like filler than anything. Let’s be honest, Janelle Monáe is just an okay actress & she really can’t a whole film by herself. She wasn’t horrible or over the top but she was nothing special here as the lead. The rest of the supporting cast was actually solid & they elevated the overall production. I’ve always been a big fan of Jena Malone & it was awesome to see her play a villain here. Antebellum is average & I don’t think it has much replay value to it. It had it’s moments but they were few & far between the entire experience. It’s worth checking out once but I wouldn’t go out & buy it right away. I definitely recommend either streaming or renting it before considering a purchase.
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Lionsgate! This 2160p (2.39:1) transfer with Dolby Vision & HDR10 looks amazing in 4K. Both different universes in this stand out on their own when it comes to the visuals. It has various audio options which includes English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, & Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 on the UHD. All of the dialogue is crystal clear, the chaos is elevated, & the music has a killer boost to it. It also has English SDH, French, & Spanish subtitles. Antebellum is one of the best looking & sounding releases of 2020. This is a great technical release when it comes to home video!!!!
Let’s discuss the special features from Lionsgate! “The History in Front of Us: Deconstructing Antebellum” is an hour & 7 minutes broken down into two parts. It has interviews with the directors & the cast. This might actually be better than the actual movie. This is a top notch look into the production of this ambitious horror flick. Everything from it’s origin to it’s finished product. Lots of information here about Antebellum. It all started from a real nightmare. “A Hint of Horror: The Clues of Antebellum” is a little over 6 minutes. It has interviews with writers/directors Gerard Bush & Christopher Renz plus various others from the production. They go over some of the easter eggs that they put in the movie. All the little hints from both worlds together. “Opening Antebellum” is almost 5 minutes. It goes over the shooting of the beginning scene for the film with the directors. It’s an unedited one take of the opening. It’s a cool little inside look into film making. It has 8 minutes of “Deleted Scenes”. It has a few “Theatrical Trailers”. It also comes with a slipcover, a digital code, & a blu ray copy of the release. It’s available everywhere right now!!!!