Antebellum – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Antebellum

When you promote your film in the same vein as Get Out or Us, it’s only normal to have certain expectations about the film. Unfortunately, Antebellum is an unbearably slow and cluttered film that completely misses the mark of the film’s message. The concept is there, but it seems as if the filmmakers were so worried about hiding the twist from the audience that they forgot about the simplest guidelines of filmmaking: Character and world-building. Not to mention, Antebellum doesn’t say anything fresh about racism except pointing out the obvious that it’s still rampant to this very day.

Unfortunately, the film doesn’t leave much room to develop the characters because of the way the film unfolds. Antebellum fills its world with stereotypically racist Southerners or oppressed slaves as it steamrolls its way to the twist. Except for Veronica (Janelle Monáe), Antebellum is full of one-note characters that are left waiting on the sidelines waiting for the coach to call their number. The problem is that these characters disappear as quickly as they appear on the screen. To their credit, the cast tries very hard to make the paper-thin script work on-screen. 

Understandably, this was Bush and Renz’s first feature ever, and their attempt to provide commentary on modern-day racism was commendable. Regardless, from the opening one-shot scene, you can see that directors Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz have an eye for visuals. They have fresh ideas when it comes to the visuals, so it’s a shame that none of that translates to everything else.

Overall, Antebellum is a film that’s meant more for shock value than anything else. It’s a shame since the cinematography is striking, and the cast (on paper) is superb. Unfortunately, Bush and Renz made the rookie mistake of falling in love with their twist to the point where it became their primary focus, and nothing else matters. 

Movie Rating: 2/5 atoms

Antebellum - Kiersey Clemons and Janelle Monáe

Video

Antebellum hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with an HDR transfer and a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The overall picture looks fantastic. The lit areas of the film shine off the screen and the details within these naturally fire lit screens are clear. Not to mention, the darkness levels of shadows are consistent throughout. The shadows are a deep black which creates a lot of moody environments — especially during the naturally lit nighttime scenes. Colors pop off the screen but the saturation is still rich and bold. The picture’s details are clean and crisp due to the digital cameras and the “Gone with the Wind” lenses that the film was shot on.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Antebellum - Gabourey Sibide, Janelle Monáe, and Lily Cowles

Audio

Antebellum hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Atmos and a core 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. This review will reflect Antebellum‘s Dolby Atmos track. The audio mix is not very dynamic, but considering the source material that’s not a total surprise. You won’t find a lot of dynamic panning of sound throughout, but the sound effects are still accurate and have a decent loudness to them. Also, the film’s usage of the overhead effects is mostly relegated to the climactic battle scene. Regardless, the battle climax of the film does showcase the fun that the Atmos format provides.

Most of the usage of the overhead speakers come from Roman GianArthur and Nate Wonder’s score. The score envelops the entire soundstage bringing you closer to this weird world that Bush and Renz created. The atmospheric effects bring the plantation and cityscape to life with its subtle immersive sound. The dialogue is crisp and crystal clear as well. The score, dialogue, and sound effects — everything complements each other without overpowering one another. Overall, this is a fine audio mix for this kind of film.

Audio Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Antebellum - Janelle Monáe

Special Features

Antebellum‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc has the following special features on it:

  • The History in Front of Us: Deconstructing Antebellum
    • Part One: The Soul
    • Part Two The Senses
  • A Hint of Horror: The Clues of Antebellum
  • Opening Antebellum
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailers

The History in Front of Us is a lengthy featurette that goes in-depth into the making of the film — from its genesis as a short story all the way to filming. It’s refreshing to hear a lot of honesty in this featurette regarding a variety of topics. For example, Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz were apprehensive in letting outside producers influence the short story they wrote. A Hint of Horror highlights the different Easter eggs that foreshadow the twist in the film. Needless to say, you shouldn’t watch this featurette unless you’ve seen the film. Opening Antebellum breaks down the meticulous and marvelous work done for the one-shot opening of the film. The deleted scenes are a bit shocking to watch, but not interesting enough to be put in the film. 

Special Features Rating: 3.5/5 atoms


Overall, Antebellum is a film that doesn’t say anything fresh about racism except pointing out the obvious that it’s still rampant to this very day. The video and audio presentations are superb, and the special features go really in-depth into the making of the film.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

Facebook Comments

About author

Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1615 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.