(Spoiler Alert: In reviewing this film, it is necessary to reveal the plot twist. If you want to see it without knowing, please stop now.)
Written and directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz in their feature directorial debuts, I was really excited for what appeared to have an intriguing concept that evoked Octavia Butler’s “Kindred” and HBO‘s adaption of the Matt Ruff novel, “Lovecraft Country”. I love Janelle Monae and will see anything she is in. But besides her riveting take as Veronica/Eden and a great score from Nate Wonder and Roman GianArthur, I didn’t love it.
First of all, it was a thin concept spread out over 90 excruciating minutes. This could have been a half-hour Twilight Zone episode rather than a feature film. The first 40 minutes constituted literal black torture porn for white racists. Except for a few minutes establishing back story, there was far too little story just brutal acts committed by white people against their “slaves.”
Secondly, it was unrealistic with plot holes you could drive a truck through. Mainly we, as Black people in 2020, would in no way sit by and allow this to go on. I understand how my ancestors living under nationally and worldwide enforced slavery and segregation were forced to endure brutality. They didn’t know anything else existed or how to escape from it. But there is zero chance in hell that white folks could kidnap a ton of us now and we would not whoop some ass and escape. Besides Monae and characters, the Black people are portrayed as too docile, which renders the whole movie unbelievable.
In addition, besides Monae’s character, the back stories of all of the characters are underdeveloped. I would have used much less screen time portraying black victimization and far more developing, who both the Black characters and the white villains were outside of the “plantation”. And finally, I would have made Veronica more heroic. Why didn’t she lead an actual revolt or let the other sister in on her plans to escape? A far better film would have been Veronica and some of the other kidnap victims taking out the white supremacist captives a la “The Hunt”.