It’s been a rough couple years for people named Karen, what with the moniker being used to describe the seemingly infinite white women who call the cops on Black people for doing mundane things. The name has been applied endlessly to racist women caught on camera using their privilege to get their way, from Amy ``Central Park Karen” Cooper’s Oscar-caliber call to cops upon being asked to leash her dog to Miya “Soho Karen” Ponsetto accusing an unassuming teenager of stealing her phone in a hissy fit culminating in assault.
It was only a matter of time before somebody took the concept of a Karen and spun it into a horror movie. And against all odds, BET beat Lifetime to the punch, unleashing upon the world a trailer for Karen.
Directed by Coke Daniels, the neighbor-from-hell film stars Orange is the New Black’s Taryn Manning as the eponymous aggrieved white woman/Supercuts regular. Within a scant 20 seconds of the preview, she’s already asking to talk to the manager when her new neighbors — Jasmine Burke and Cory Hardrict — are a little too loud in a restaurant.
The trailer unspools a series of familiar conflicts that escalate from micro- to macro aggressions as Karen installs invasive security equipment, scolds her neighbors for not taking their trash bins in on time, makes references to slavery, calls the cops on teenagers while acting frightened and coordinates with a couple of crooked officers to terrorize the family.
With allusions to a wider-reaching cabal of conspiring white supremacists and a genre-forward approach to tackling systemic racism and police brutality, the film is already drawing comparisons to Jordan Peele’s Get Out… and not favorably. In fact, the reaction to the Karen trailer was strong enough to cause Peele to trend atop Twitter early Tuesday morning.
Regardless of how the film is received upon its release later this year, this is still bad news for very nice women named Karen everywhere.