Written and produced by comedian and filmmaker, Jordan Peele, horror movie Get Out provides solid entertainment as well as an insight into a complex situation regarding racism in America. Get Out goes beyond the realms of an ordinary, typical and predictable horror movie, offering the audience a shocking twist as well as intertwining satire within it. Thus, making it one of the most highly rated movies of the year. Its importance also stems from its ability to shed light on indirect racism amongst seemingly normal families in America.
Get Out begins innocently, following the story of couple Rose and Chris. After dating for five months, Rose decides it is time to bring Chris to meet her white, middle-class, supposedly liberal family who live in the suburbs. With Chris being a black man, he expresses doubt over whether her parents will be okay with her dating him and suggests Rose pre-warns her parents of his race. This is when the idea of race is first introduced to the audience, with Rose on multiple occasions, stressing the acceptance of her parents and how they would be fine with her having a black boyfriend. Rose’s insistence of her parents acceptance begins to foster some uncertainty amongst the audience. Initially, Chris’s meeting with Rose’s family seems ordinary, albeit slightly awkward. As the movie progresses, strange situations start occurring, such as Chris being unwillingly hypnotised by Rose’s therapist mother and odd behaviour from their two house maids, who seem to be exaggerating their contentment to be working for the family through their fake smiles and rehearsed speech. This is when the move leaps into suspense, shock and horror, with Chris discovering the dark side to Rose’s family and the real reason he was bought to visit them.
The initial suspicions surrounding Rose’s assertion that her family are accepting of his race leave the audience on edge as the movie progresses. Despite hints being given throughout the movie, the underlying truth of the family is not easily given away. The interactions between the family and Chris begin to generate a feeling of uneasiness, as well as confusion as to what is going on. These interactions indicate the families indirect racism towards Chris, with Rose’s father exclaiming his love of Obama, as well as addressing the fact that their house maids are black without Chris mentioning it in a weak but seemingly desperate attempt to make Chris feel more comfortable. Peele uses these issues to address the problem of indirect and casual racism in America, by also introducing the issue of stereotypes through the way some of the neighbours interact with him. He is able to incorporate issues regarding racism relating to ordinary people in society into a dark story about a seemingly simple situation. Through this, Peele is able to create a connection with the audience by playing on their true-to-life fears.
The acting during the movie is outstanding and contributes significantly to the suspense that builds throughout. The peculiarity and mysteriousness of Rose’s mother, and the switch of Rose’s father from an intelligent, calm, academic to a threatening menace contributes to the eeriness during the movie. Peele brings in the comedic aspects through Chris’s friend, Rod, who quickly identifies an issue with her family and brings this to the attention of the police who think his theory is bizarre. His insistence and manor of speaking momentarily takes away from the suspense of what is occurring in Rose’s home, bringing comedy to the twisted situation due to the police’s reluctance to believe such a far-fetched situation. Rose’s relaxed and happy demeanour leaves the audience questioning whether she is involved in her parents twisted plan, which is not revealed until near the end.
Get Out takes a simple situation of a boyfriend meeting his girlfriends family for the first time, and creates a story that provides entertainment as well as addressing the issue of racism in American head on. Despite its low budget and relatively unknown cast, it was extremely successful in the box office, generating $30 million in its first weekend in America. This is an indication of its strong storyline and acting which all contribute to success of the movie. With the success of Get Out, I hope to see Peele combine horror and comedy within a movie again.