This past February, Get Out, the directorial debut of Jordan Peele (you may know him from the Comedy Central Sketch Series Key & Peele), is the psychological-horror film that both audiences and critics alike have been raving about. It’s smart script addresses race relations in America through a chilling yet humorous story about a girl that takes her black boyfriend home to meet her white, suburban family for the first time.
The plot itself is a little far-fetched. However, what makes the film so relatable and understandable to audiences is the stigma regarding black people and African American culture that Peele brings to light. Rose Armitage, played by Allison Williams, the white girlfriend of African-American photographer Chris, played by Daniel Kaluuya, takes her boyfriend out to her family’s estate for the weekend. Here at this large estate, with two African American servants and not another house for miles (sounds quite similar to a classic southern plantation) Peele sets the stage for what turns out to be an eerie trip into suburbia. There, Chris meets the family, including the father who “would have voted for Obama a third time if he could,” and Rose’s mother and brother. At the estate that weekend, the Armitage family hosts their “annual party”, where dozens of white, affluent guests come to the household, and Chris soon realizes something is wrong.
From the lady who feels the muscles on his forearms, to the one who asks Rose if sex with a black man is different, it is clear Jordan Peele is addressing some of the stereotypes surrounding African Americans in a humorous yet clarifying light. The protagonist himself is a black male, which is unusual for the horror genre considering that most black males in horror films are usually a supporting character, and one of the first killed off for that matter. The fact that Chris makes it through the duration of the film itself addresses a stereotype in the horror industry that has been widely understood, but rarely addressed.
With the 99% Rotten Tomatoes critic score (100% until infamously harsh critic Armond White decided to ruin its pristine status), and over $30 million in sales its opening weekend, people everywhere are reeling over this dynamic film filled with both laughs and scares. It reveals an ugly truth, and Peele’s intelligent weaving of social commentary leaves you thinking by the time the closing credits roll.