The cinematic genre of horror noire is growing larger and even scarier, and surprisingly, the latest terrifying title has nothing to do with Black horror aficionado Jordan Peele. This new addition will star someone not known for having an affection for the eerie — Janelle Monáe. The Dirty Computer singer will use her pipes to scream in terror (or make us scream) as the lead character of the upcoming horror flick Antebellum, and from the looks of the film’s trailer, it's going to be an actual nightmare. Buckle in, folks: We're headed back to the days of slavery in the antebellum era.
Marketing efforts for the film are keeping its storyline purposely vague, sharing a shadowy summary with Vanity Fair. "Celebrated author Veronica Henley (Monáe) finds herself trapped in a horrifying reality and must uncover the mind-bending mystery before it’s too late."
From the teaser, we can see that the story will be told in the past and in the present. Antebellum will likely bring every Black person's deepest fear — being transported back to the days of American slavery — to life. Monáe is shown working on a farm in what looks to be the antebellum South, but she's also seen in the present sporting a fabulous outfit while out drinking with a group of friends (which includes Empire actress Gabourey Sidibe!).
Produced by the brilliant but twisted minds behind Get Out and Us, Antebellum will probably run along similar lines in its creative exploration of social themes. Peele used American racism and appropriation as the foundation for the bone-chilling narrative in the Oscar-winning Get Out. In Us, he not-so-subtly provides an ingenious critique of classism and xenophobia through his protagonist Red/Adelaide.
In the same vein, it looks like Antebellum will depict the truly nightmarish nature of racism by transporting its characters, and its audience, to one of the most sinister time periods in American history.
Antebellum is scheduled for theatrical release on April 24, 2020.