Horror film addresses the true horror of subtle racism

Image via  Blumhouse Productions
Image via Blumhouse Productions

‘Get Out’ film review

By Jessica Berget, Staff Writer



“How are you not scared of them, man?”

Jordan Peele achieved the almost impossible last Friday by making white people afraid of racism with his directorial debut Get Out. Sharp and full of social commentary, the film pokes at instances of subtle racism as the basis of its terror. The result? Horrifying—yet wonderful—entertainment.

The film focuses on Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), who is nervous about meeting his girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) aggressively white parents for the first time in their four-month-long relationship. His anxieties are eased when Rose jokes about how lame her parents really are: Her father, she says, “will definitely tell you he would have voted for Obama a third term if he could.” But it seems Chris’ fears may not have been unwarranted as the film progresses.

When they arrive at her parents’ house, it’s clear that something isn’t quite right. Chris notices the family’s servants are black, something Rose’s dad makes a point of defending. “We hired Georgina and Walter to help care for my parents. When they died, I couldn’t bear to let them go.” It’s obvious there is something wrong with the servants, who act strange and almost robotic. At first Rose’s family’s creepy behaviour appears to only be nervous attempts to accommodate their daughter’s black boyfriend, but when they mention Chris’ “genetic superiority” in an awkward dinner conversation, the family’s other subtly racist comments are suddenly brought to light, and the film takes a creepy turn. The film becomes even more disturbing when Rose’s parents notice Chris is trying to quit smoking and Rose’s mom offers to hypnotize him to rid him of his habit. Initially he declines, but later that night, when he is caught going out for a cigarette by Rose’s mother, there is no way to escape.

Get Out possesses a complex genre hybrid of thriller and comedy which will make you want to hide your eyes in terror, yet your eyes are glued to the screen at the same time. Even in the most paralyzing of scenes, Peele is still able to get a laugh (or even a woo-hoo in my theatre) from the audience. The most comical scene is when Chris’ friend Rod (Lil Rel Howery) attempts to convince some police detectives that his friend has been kidnapped by his white girlfriend’s family to make him their sex slave. However, in this movie laughter is often met with horror. In fact, these comedic relief bits only serve to make the viewer more terrified for what is about to happen next, making the intensity of some horror scenes all the more terrifying.

Get Out is a cinematic treasure, marrying both horror and comedy with perfect execution, all while pointing out profound instances of racism. The intensity of this movie will leave you on the edge of your seat, and in a crossfire of wanting to know what happens next and not wanting to look back at the screen. But believe me, it’s worth it.