Posted on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021 by
Jordan Peele made quite an impression on audiences with his directorial debut Get Out. The thriller used racism as the crux of the terror, offering plenty of sharp social commentary along with more genre-driven chills. Even though it took a little while, another filmmaker is trying the same thing, but with seemingly far worse results.
Karen is a new thriller focusing on a racist white woman who is hellbent on terrorizing a new Black family that just moved in next door. It has all the beats of a traditional suburban thriller, but with the subtlety of a sledgehammer bought at Home Depot on a Sunday.
The movie focuses on Karen Drexler (Taryn Manning), who has no problem making Black people feel uncomfortable and unwelcome in any given situation. That includes telling her new neighbor Malik (Cory Hardrict) that his trash cans need to be pulled back immediately after the garbage is picked up or making comments about his wife (Jasmine Burke) “slaving away” in the kitchen.
This is basically a racially charged version of Disturbia, except there’s no hiding just how vindictive and malicious the titular next door neighbor is. There are moments pulled from the headlines, including Karen calling the police on a couple young men in a park who were simply minding their own business, complete with the woman fumbling over her words and sounding like a lunatic. Honestly, it almost feels like a Saturday Night Live sketch at times.
Director Coke Daniels is clearly trying to tap into the vibe of Jordan Peele’s Get Out, but based on the trailer, it just feels like it lacks the sophistication and cleverness of the Oscar-winning thriller. The film clearly wants to engage in the genuine fears and real-life struggles that Black people have always had, whether it’s with racist neighbors or law enforcement, but it doesn’t seem to bring anything thoughtful to the table along with it. Perhaps the full movie paints a better picture.
Here’s the official synopsis for Karen:
Karen Drexler (Taryn Manning), a racist white woman who makes it her personal mission to displace the new Black family that has just moved in next door to her. Community activist Malik (Cory Hardrict) and his wife Imani (Jasmine Burke) are the couple who have just moved to the Atlanta suburb, but they won’t be backing down without a fight.
Karen doesn’t seem to have an official theatrical release date yet, but maybe that’s for the best.
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