Shortly after its premiere, I got the chance to see “Get Out.” Little did I know, it is one of the most frightening and fascinating movies of the last few years. In addition, it has an impressive 99 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film is written and directed by “Key & Peele’s” Jordan Peele, but promises to be a horror film and not a comedy like their popular sketch show. While this is Peele’s first dip into the horror genre, his sketch show features the same razor-sharp social satire the film does.
While there were elements of humor, Peele still crafted a thriller that had me holding onto my seat from the terror of it.
What starts as a simple story quickly develops into a fast-paced thrill ride. A young black man in NYC goes upstate with his white girlfriend to visit her family. He expresses his concern to Rose, his girlfriend, about the racism he could experience from her family, but she assures him that her family is not racist. Little does he know, the experience will be worse than he ever dreamed of.
Not only are all of the people who associate with Rose’s parents white, but they all seem to be very interested in him. The few black people he does meet each act a bit off. The experience is off-putting, and he is increasingly paranoid throughout the film.
Without giving away the plot of the film, I can tell you that the film surpasses all negative stereotypes and stubtly embraces themes of the genre. One of the clichés that it tackles well is the stereotype that black people always die first in films.
The main character and hero of the film is a black man, played by Daniel Kaluuya, and the first scene in the film you see another black man forcefully pulled into a car in a quiet suburb. This reflects a fear that African Americans face living in a “post racial” America.
The film is rich with references. Peele is an avid horror fan and crafted the movie with his heroes in the back of his mind. Watching it, you will see elements of “The Shining,” “Stepford Wives,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and other classic films, both horror and otherwise.
The film opened during Black History Month. It also came out at the same time as the five-year anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s death. The movie is unapologetically made for black audiences, but can be enjoyed by all audiences.
Peele has stated that this movie is meant to start a conversation though a story. He realizes the power of storytelling to let those with privilege put themselves in his shoes. In interviews, Peele has stated that the film was meant to represent the black experience in a world that makes discussing race taboo. Keep a lookout for Peele in the future. I imagine this will be one of the best crafted movies of the year, and he is just getting started.