The trippy, intensely difficult watch Antebellum is all style and no substance. It is a film that aims to shock its audience at every turn, devoid of any underlying purpose.
This slavery-set picture subjects its characters to all manner of horrors, in the name of “entertainment”, but all it really did was make me feel ill.
The calling card for racially-themed horror with an underlying message doesn’t get much better than Jordan Peele’s Get Out, but the difference between the two pictures is that one’s searing social commentary is easily felt and seen.
To say Antebellum is a bad film is disingenuous. It is well-shot, atmospheric, at times interesting and has an incredible cast.
Janelle Monae is a powerhouse here, and surrounded by actors Jena Malone, the always-welcome Jack Huston and personal favourite Gabourey Sidibe, there’s a ton of talent gracing the screen.
It’s that the writer-directors Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz are so busy trying to be stylish and mind-bending that they forget to tell a simple story whose motivations captures the audience.
Antebellum is a bleak film without a compass, and being this lost isn’t worth the outcome for the audience.