Listen…we all knew this was going to be a thing at some point and here we are. Thank you BET Productions. The trailer for the film, KAREN, has been released with Taryn Manning in the title role because, of course. It’s exactly what you expect it to be. KAREN follows Manning, who’s serving Fantastic Sams realness, falling into a panic when she meets her new neighbors (Cory Hardrict and Jasmine Burke), who as she says with a deadpan “They’re Black.” The next thing you know Karen is flipping over garbage cans and calling the cops on a group of Black teens.
KAREN has the potential to be a profound film about the social and systemic manifestation of white supremacy in modern society and not the rough draft of an SNL skit that it appears to be. It could be this year’s ANTEBELLUM (probably) or this year’s GET OUT (I giggled a little as I typed that). Great horror,effective horror, has always mirrored the political and social consequences of it’s time. GODZILLA and THE BLOB explored the fears of nuclear weapons in the 1950s. In the 80s is was the breakdown of American morals in NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and THE STEPFATHER. In 2021 it’s the “Karen” phenomenon, although this is certainly not a new horror. Racism and the weaponizing of one’s status (whiteness) is built into the very infrastructure of our country so it’s actually surprising a movie about a Karen hasn’t been made before. If it has, let me know.
Time will tell if KAREN actually has something meaningful to say or if it will be just another film that exploits Black trauma instead of exploring the social and political nuances of a Karen, her fragility and her entitlement. Given the…”probably not hard to remember” dialogue and limited budget displayed in the trailer I don’t have the highest hopes but I could very easily be surprised. KAREN could be to GET OUT what URBAN LEGEND was to SCREAM- a digestible yet derivative film that exists because a better film in it’s subgenre already made it big. We deserve better, but at least we get to gaze at the very handsome Cory Hardrict for (hopefully no more than) 90 minutes.
I have no clue when this movie comes out but stay tuned or keep your BET+ subscription active.