While some of you may have heard rumors about this movie, it seems like 90% of the world right now has no idea that African-American-focused entertainment channel BET has made a thriller movie based off the mega-popular Karen meme
For the few of you who may not know, a ‘Karen’ is essentially an entitled white woman who tends to make a scene in the most unnecessary situations (and often asks to “speak to the manager”).
Examples of actual Karens will be included throughout this article. I sat down to watch the Karen movie thinking this movie would be a “so bad it’s good” flick, and was not disappointed. It is like a 12-year-old tried to remake Jordan Peele’s Get Out, but without even slightest idea of how to make an actual film.
The Plot of Karen
A black husband and wife, Malik and Imani, move into an affluent mostly white suburb and proceed to get harassed to all hell by a woman named…. well, I think you get the gist.
The movie pulls no punches with its portrayal of racism, as the film begins with our titular character pouring water over a chalk drawing that says BLACK LIVES MATTER to erase it. Right there you immediately know that this movie is going to be about as subtle as a punch to the throat. And while discussing race is important, this movie doesn’t discuss race as much as it beats you over the head with overt racism.
Imani and Malik meet Karen while they are moving in, as she is standing in the road outside their house while they unpack, watching them intently. In the next scene, Karen is putting up video cameras all around her house facing the new homeowner’s property. Like I said, subtlety is not this movie’s strong point. This obviously causes some problems, and it all crescendos pretty quickly from that point, escalating with each act.
The Karen Actress Kinda Slays It (in a Campy Way)
There is one thing that makes the movie weirdly watchable, and that’s Taryn Manning’s performance as the titular lead. Best known for her roles in Hustle and Flow, 8 Mile, and Orange is the New Black, where she aptly plays a racist. As weird and insane as her character is, she seems to be having fun playing into the worst aspects of a Karen.
If nothing else, her weirdly manic performance really does scream “Karen” and seeing how close her real name is to Karen (Taryn), one cannot help but wonder if maybe she was pulling from a real place, but I digress.
Is That All?
I know you might be wondering why I am not telling you more plot, but there isn’t much more to tell. The neighborly tensions slowly come to a head, with Karen’s blatant racism slowly becoming evident to more and more people around her. Once she loses her job as a result of some of her tantrums being filmed and leaked online, she goes full Jason Voorhees. She switches on like a T-800 that Skynet just activated.
As you can imagine, everything comes to a boil pretty quickly. I won’t spoil the ending for you, because, well, this movie can only go in one direction, and we all knew where it was headed from frame one. Karen bad, Karen must be stopped.
Karen gets 2 tantrums out of 7 on our totally arbitrary scale. It’s the perfect score for a movie that makes very little sense, yet seems to take itself very seriously.
The image of a Karen as a terrible human is an actual thing in 2021, and I can’t throw shade at BET for wanting to cash in on the memeable trend. It’s just a shame that the movie was as frustratingly inapt as the subject it’s based on.