Alice Trailer: Keke Palmer Makes A Life-Altering Discovery

When Krystin Ver Linden's "Alice" hit Sundance last month, it garnered immediate comparisons to the poorly received 2020 movie "Antebellum." Both follow enslaved Black women who suddenly realize they aren't actually living in pre-Emancipation Proclamation times, but the post-civil rights era. Now, "Alice" has a trailer, and it seems to be working hard to distinguish itself from similar shock value fare.

The trailer opens with plantation imagery as Johnny Lee Miller's character, Paul, calls the state of Georgia "our God-given land." He's a slave owner, and we see him beat one person and hold another's face as the slave tries not to pull away in fear. Then comes the "inspired by true events" intertitle, which likely refers to real stories of Black Americans who were enslaved as late as the 1960s.

Alice Burns It All Down

In its first trailer, "Alice" doesn't waste too much time immersing viewers in the slave narrative before revealing its central conceit. The titular character, played by Keke Palmer, escapes the plantation only to run right in front of a speeding semi-truck. She's overwhelmed by the novel technology and the near-death experience, so she faints.

The rest of the trailer sees Alice begin to catch up on the history she'd missed while living in a manufactured version of the past. She gets picked up by a man named Frank (played by Common), who informs her it's actually 1973. We don't see much of her culture shock, only that she has trouble seeking healthcare because she can't write.

Soon, Alice is taking a crash course in liberation and the civil rights movement. She studies Ebony and Jet magazine, reads about historic marches, and watches Blaxploitation movies in theaters. She debuts a new look complete with an afro and asks Frank how she looks. "Like you," he answers simply.

In its final moments, the trailer seems to present the movie as a revenge thriller. Alice calls the man who enslaved her and declares, "It's the woman you used to own!" We see Alice get a gun and tell Frank she's going back for her captor. By the trailer's end, the plantation appears to have gone up in flames. "This tradition was born long before you!" Paul yells as Alice points a gun at him.

Though this introspective trailer may help "Alice" avoid comparisons to exploitative fare like "Antebellum," the movie will still have to overcome its current negative reception when it's distributed by Vertical Entertainment later this year. Both stories seem as if they're trying to do what perhaps only sci-fi titan Octavia Butler has done successfully, with her powerful plantation-set time-travel novel "Kindred." Even that may not translate to screen, but we'll find out soon enough, as it's set for an adaptation.

"Alice" will be released on March 18, 2022.