Get Out, the new film written and directed by Jordan Peele of “Key and Peele”, is a deep departure for the actor-writer on some levels. Sure, he’s never written or directed a horror film before, but if you’re familiar with his other racially-charged work, the premise of this new number one film won’t surprise you. In Get Out a young mixed-race couple—Rose, played by Allison Williams, and Chris, played by Daniel Kaluuya—goes upstate to visit Rose’s parents, and from there things get progressively terrifying.
Jordan Peele’s first film is what he calls a social thriller, much in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby and Night of the Living Dead. Peele defines these movies as films in which society is the villain, and as Chris—the main character—delves further into the white suburban enclave that his girlfriend’s family inhabits, we see clearly that this is no euphemism; this movie is full of real horror elements. Jump scares, sinister music and ominous foreshadowing all abound, but like many other horror movies, you just won’t believe what happens until you see it. When asked about the conception of this film Peele said that he felt a lot of ambivalence after the 2008 presidential campaign and questioned whether we had truly reached a “post-racial America” with the election of Barack Obama. Peele tried for years to get the film made, and finally succeeded with Universal Studios QC Entertainment and Blumhouse Pictures, who has produced other recent horror successes such as Insidious and The Purge.
Peele’s film expertly uses the classic Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? scenario to point out the subtle racism that often seems to be hiding in today’s liberal, politically correct, blue state America. The real genius of this film is (spoiler alert!) the progression of the oft-subtle racism that African-Americans experience in this world from those who are supposed to be allies, to a racism that is physical, violent, and terrifying in nature. This film puts the emotions that African-Americans experience in these situations front and center. Get Out has a practically unheard of 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an 83 on IMDB, along with receiving terrific reviews for its scathing social commentary and genuine scares from The New York Times and The New Yorker. Peele’s film is still in theaters, so go and see it soon. You won’t believe the ending!