Please read the italicized addendum at the bottom of this post for ways to actively participate in the fight for social justice and avoid virtue signaling/performative activism.
Most of us know Jordan Peele as one half of the sketch comedy duo Key & Peele. But, over the last few years, Peele has also made a name for himself in the horror film world, first with his incredible feature directorial debut “Get Out” (2017).
“Get Out,” which Peele also wrote (and won an Oscar for), centers around the story of Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a young black man who visits his white girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) parents’ home for the first time. As you’d imagine, things are not smooth sailing from there once the couple arrives; Chris discovers a dark secret about his girlfriend’s family–one that threatens his life on an unimaginable new level while simultaneously awakening a deep-seated fear within him.
With its fresh plot, urgent subject matter, and killer acting, “Get Out” stands out from the crowd as one of the best films (not even just within the horror genre) of the 2010s. The film articulates the black experience in America, touching on attitudes first adopted with colonialism and continued through the eras of enslavement and segregation all the way through to the present: the time of the prison-industrial complex (read: modern slavery).
One of the most important components of “Get Out,” and what I think truly makes it shine, is that it’s not just neo-Nazis or anyone else you might think of as outwardly racist, who perpetrate the horrors the film portrays against Chris and, by extension, all black Americans. It’s a “normal” white liberal family whose members “would have voted for Obama a third time if [they] could.”
It’s important because it shows that “normal” white Americans commit microaggressions against black Americans all the time, and that these “small” infractions are just as insidious as explicit displays of racism because they permeate throughout society quietly and become normalized day by day, until they are simply “the way things are.”
Generally, I’m a little strict on modern horror because I find that it lacks substance in favor of jump scares or extreme gore for shock factor, but “Get Out” avoids these tropes entirely, and with ease. Sure, there’s a bit of blood here and there, and definitely more than one instance of a fright that made me spring up out of my seat, but these things are not prioritized in lieu of an actual story that makes sense, and, more than that, makes a point–an important function of horror film that has regrettably been lost in recent years.
Ultimately, I can’t really add anything more of value to what everyone has already said about “Get Out.” It’s just amazing. It’s raw, and it’s honest, and it’s (unfortunately) all too relevant in today’s day and age. If the rave reviews (98% on the Tomatometer) and Oscar win for Best Original Screenplay haven’t convinced you yet, maybe my urging will: go watch it. You won’t regret it. And maybe you’ll learn something in the process, too.
Filmnetic Grade: A+
What did you think about Jordan Peele’s first foray into the horror genre, “Get Out” (2017)? Let us know down below!
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