As time passes, many people are becoming more and more woke to the problems we face. Of course, this is an evolution, not an immediate change. In fact, we can only hope that this continues to evolve to the point that we as a society create real positive change, rather than just admit and talk about the issues at hand. Discrimination against black individuals is just one part of the problem we have faced as a country (and world). We all know about slavery, but what about privilege? What about the consistent trauma we put on minority individuals? These are all issues people are wrapping their heads around, and these are all issues that Get Out explores.
This timely horror film focuses on Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a black male, and his battle against a white family. A talented photographer, Chris is dating a white female, and feels inclined to visit her family after dating close to 5 months. He isn’t totally against this visit, since it will allow him to photograph nature and meet potential parents-in-law. While he is initially scared of going, thanks to the girlfriend not informing her parents that he is black, Chris decides to take the trip and have as much fun as possible. Once at the parent’s home, Chris realizes the nuanced racism presented by every single person in the house. To make issues worse, two black individuals work for the family, but there is clearly something wrong with both of them. Not far into the film, we realize what the family is up to, along with the challenges that Chris must face in order to survive.
While there are some twists, the film as a whole focuses more on its conversation about race, rather than generating scares or thrills (more on this later). There are definitely moments that will make horror fans uneasy, but any seasoned viewer would be able to predict a lot of the action taking place. What makes Get Out so interesting is that while we could see the plot unraveling right in front of us, we still enjoyed the ride. Brilliant acting, comedic moments, and dashes of special effects make this film a must view for any film fan.
Of course, what really matters about Get Out is the message it is sharing. Get Out isn’t just a commentary on racism, it is a commentary on all the nuanced behaviors that attribute to a culture of racism. Passive aggressive and ignorant questions about race, especially questions that further stereotypes, are the norm with this family and their friends. The belief that black people are different than white people is clear; what is interesting is that many of the white individuals desire to become black, rather than hurt it. This is a commentary on society's belief that being black is “cool” and in fashion. What people fail to realize is the level of discrimination and the lack of resources many people in the black community receive. The white characters in the film don’t seem to miss a step though, since they don’t desire a black individual’s mind, instead they just desire their physical features.
Get Out also tackles stereotypes within the horror film genre. The idea that black people always die first is spun on it’s head. Also, instead of creepy houses or evicted homes, Get Out focuses more on something that is much scarier in the eyes of the protagonist. At the beginning of the film, a black individual is walking around an affluent neighborhood. He comments on how lost he feels, how creepy it is out there with all those rich cars. Many viewers empathize with him. In fact, rich homes and rich neighborhoods are much scarier than anything from a horror movie for many people. Get Out does a wonderful job of exhibiting how terrifying it can feel to have many different people, of a singular race, around a small group of individuals that are in the minority.
Is Get Out perfect? No. There is a sinister feeling to the film, and one that will resonate with people of different races in different ways. As a white viewer, I found the film creepy, but not scary. I also bought into the conversation about race, but who am I to say it isn’t a scary movie, when the principal protagonist is black, and I am not? As a person critiquing this movie, I would say that the film focused less on typical horror movie scares, and more about creating a narrative that was terrifying in general. With that in mind, Get Out is as terrifying as you want it to be, it just depends on your level of understanding for other races and discrimination.
Does Get Out help the horror film genre? It helps it in more ways than most people are going to realize. There are a serious lack of horror movies that accurately reflect or talk about minority races and populations. Get Out does that, and creates an intriguing story that has replay value. Wonderful acting, directing, and humor help elevate this film, along with its subject matter, from an average horror movie that lacks typical scares, into a woke horror film that every person should watch and talk about.
If you liked Get Out, you might also like The Wicker Man (1975).