Courtesy of Creative Commons
Driving to the theater with the only friend who would see a film with me at 5:45 on a Tuesday night, I wondered if the 99 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes was worth me failing a test. Spoiler: it was.
Jordan Peele, one half of Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele,” made his first directorial debut with “Get Out,” released on Feb. 24. Along with the rest of the highly praised cast, Daniel Kaluuya portrays young photographer Chris Washington, an African-American man apprehensive about meeting his white girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) parents. Peele uses his comedic genius to put a satirical spin on meeting the family, a milestone in any relationship. Chris and Rose’s love adds a breath of fresh air to this age-old story, the interracial nature so rarely seen in Hollywood. Peele portrays the overly-accommodating, yet racist, behavior as a misguided attempt at bonding.
As the weekend progresses, the romantic scenes, mixed with increasingly disturbing discoveries, create a poignant social critique for today’s world. While the laughs come easily throughout the theater, the reality and fear of the situations produces a ripple of unease. Slowly straying away from comedy, Peele confronts audiences with the fact that evil does not come in the form of Jason Vorhees from “Friday the 13th” or an escaped asylum patient, but of people who can throw their arms around you and fake geniality. Lately, Hollywood has failed to keep audiences on their toes; between constantly reusing horror tropes from “Paranormal Activity” and “The Exorcist,” originality has been lacking. “Get Out” is a new type of thriller, one that makes it impossible to guess where it’s going before it hits you.
This film deserves all the praise it gets, as it is both exciting and genuinely unsettling in turning racism into a disquieting genre. For some, it is easy to proclaim that hatred and racism does not exist in 2017, but Peele took the idea of white suburban safety and turned it into a horror film. It is this scene that cuts at the core of “Get Out,” an underlying racist narrative mixed with a psychological thriller that in the final act can only come out with a terrifyingly wonderful finale.