Antebellum is a 2020 American thriller film written and directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz in their feature directorial debuts. The film stars Janelle Monáe, Eric Lange, Jena Malone, Jack Huston, Kiersey Clemons, and Gabourey Sidibe, and follows an African-American woman who finds herself in a Southern slave plantation and must escape.
In a Louisiana slave plantation run by Confederate soldiers, slaves are treated harshly and not allowed to speak unless spoken to. Those who attempt to escape are killed and their bodies burned in a crematorium. After a failed escape attempt, a black man named Eli watches as his wife is murdered and her body placed in the crematorium. A woman who had been assisting them is later brutally beaten and branded by the general until she submits to being called Eden.
A group of new slaves is brought to the plantation. Among them is a pregnant woman whom the general’s daughter Elizabeth names Julia and places in the care of Eden. Julia asks Eden to plan an escape while Eden urges her to keep her head down. That evening during a dinner where Julia and Eden are forced to wait on soldiers in the army, a shy Confederate soldier named Daniel is attracted to Julia and arranges to go to her cabin later. When Julia tries to play on his kindness and asks him to help her, he beats her for speaking when not spoken to, causing her to miscarry.