The trailer for BET's new horror movie Karen is striking many viewers the wrong way. Karen is a thriller about a racist, entitled white woman terrorizing her new Black neighbors in the American south. As the first trailer made the rounds on social media, many viewers complained that it was a cheap knock-off of Jordan Peele's Get Out, but lacking the nuance of the original.
Get Out was Peele's directorial debut, and it earned him the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. It was a satirical horror about well-meaning white people holding onto a horrible, racist secret, and it was groundbreaking in many ways. Viewers now think that other writers, directors and studios have taken the wrong message away from Get Out, and are trying to mimic the wrong aspects of it in productions like Karen. Many said that they simply do not want to see violence of this type without the social commentary to accompany it.
If that commentary is present in Karen, the trailer does not do a great job of promising it. Viewers felt that it was gratuitous, simply showing scenes that they were familiar with without adding any of the insight that Peele's concept did. Similar complaints were levied against the Amazon original series Them earlier this year.
The Karen trailer preoccupied Twitter critics all weekend. So far, there is no release date in place for the movie. Here's a look at what people have to say.
Mimicry as Praise
Jordan Peele only has two films under his belt as a director and he already has people trying to copy his formula. Talk about impact.— NUFF (@nuffsaidny) June 22, 2021
Some Peele fans took this trailer as a compliment to him, noting that Peele is already being widely imitated so early in his directorial career. While the copycats don't strike the same chord with them, they figure it must be gratifying for Peele on some level.prevnext
Missed the Point
2/2 the imitations don't have anything new to say, they just take a well-known image of racism and expect that to do the work— notself (@notself_) June 22, 2021
The trailer sparked fresh discussions about what made Get Out so great, and how Karen misses the mark. Many people guessed that studios were simplifying Peele's message and taking all the impact out of it in the process.prevnext
I didn’t know what to expect when I saw Get Out. It went in a direction I did not forsee. I already know where this Karen movie is going to go.— David Katz (@BadMuthabox) June 22, 2021
Some users pointed out that they didn't know how powerful Get Out would be before they saw it, and gave Karen the same benefit of the doubt. Others felt that the trailer left little mystery to consider.prevnext
Can’t we have a black family that’s like not in trouble and trauma ? 😭— angel ☺︎︎ (@imtrynasmoke) June 23, 2021
Many users also said that they would rather see more Black-led movies in other genres with happier tones than see a catalog of horror movies with racism at their center.prevnext
she needs magical powers - the ability to teleport to and harass blekpeepl, she harvests energy this way and has been alive since the antebellum era— slamjamuels (@andsamjam) June 22, 2021
Some users suggested twists that could redeem the movie in their eyes, most of them supernatural. They wanted something to add hyperbole to a film that otherwise seemed to just be accurate.prevnext
Let's take a moment of silence for Jordan Peele's Twitter notifications. https://t.co/lbNv86w22d— Cocoa Butter (@cocoabutterbf) June 22, 2021
While Jordan Peele had nothing to do with Karen, the trailer got his name trending on Twitter. Some fans felt bad for him, and hoped he wouldn't feel obliged to weigh in on this production.prevnext
It just feels weird that this is the stuff that’s being made in mainstream media considering the context of all of *this*— S (@sarah_ogun) June 22, 2021
Finally, many people remarked that while Get Out was timely, movies mimicking it are behind the times. They argued that there is new, fresh social commentary to be done without rehashing ideas that already got a brilliant treatment in Peele's movie.prev