From the mind of Jordan Peele comes a modern thriller that captures the best aspects of a truly good horror movie while also bringing up important and relevant issues on race seamlessly in his first ever film, Get Out. The movie avoids cheap, cliche scare tactics that riddle today’s horror movie industry and instead uses situational horror to illicit a response from its audience. If you’ve seen the trailer, you know how horrifying some of the scenes in the movie look, and believe me, they are truly effective in terrifying their audience. The movie’s premise is of a young couple, Chris and Rose, going up to Rose’s parent’s house for a weekend. What can already be a scary situation for some people reveals itself to be more and more sinister as disturbing events continue to unfold. What I want to address in particular about the film, though, are the moments that address race. Chris (a black man) expresses his apprehension about meeting Rose’s (a white woman’s) parents when he is the first black man she has ever been in a relationship with. This theme of intimidating and uncomfortable social situations carries over into pivotal scene where Rose’s relatives all come to the house for a get together and Chris is the only black person in the room. “He’s the token black guy at the party and everyone’s trying to connect with him in terms of his blackness. A white guy’s talking about ‘You know, I love Tiger! I know Tiger!’ and it’s these little subtle moments that anybody of color, minorities, will recognize, and woke* white people will recognize it too. But it happens and it’s not a hateful side of racism but it is a reminder that race is always going to be there. It’s always something that invades the ways we interact with each other” said Peele. This instance is a perfect example of an important element of racism that isn’t often discussed in America: non-hateful but isolating. The movie is a work of fiction, the horror situations are not realistic but these instances, like the party scene, are all too common. “Anytime we see color first or categorize one another as a race, we’ve already sort of lost an important part of what being human should mean,” said Peele. Whether we see this as “oh, that’s happened to me before” or “oh no, I think I’ve done that before,” this movie opens up important conversation about how we communicate and interact with each other. “Part of the reason I made this film was because we were in this era while Obama was president where it felt like race was almost taboo to talk about. It was like we wanted to say, ‘Hey, we’re in this post-racial society now. We’ve got a black president and racism is dead. Yay!’” said Peele. The movie is not only a great cinematic work for its amazing concept, storytelling, and execution, but also brings up an important conversation about how racism is not gone or “over” and that we as a society should not be afraid to talk about.
*woke - The condition of being aware of social and political issues that are present in modern society and their impacts (particularly ones that affect minorities).