At first I was hesitant to see Get Out. On the one hand it was advertised way too much, a sign the marketing team was afraid no one would bother unless they annoyed audiences into buying a ticket. Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken used the same tactic and that movie sucked. My other reason for wanting to sit this one out was probably the same for most: the prejudice angle. Obviously I frown upon politically motivated works that try to shove an agenda down my throat (Nick Spencer), but what made me think otherwise was that the director is Jordan Peele.
His now cancelled show Key and Peele, with his long-time partner Keegan Michael Key, had a lot more going for it than typical sketches. Key and Peele had a unique perspective as biracial men who grew up with black and white parents. Much of the comedy deals with identity in their pursuit to figure out who they are and how should they appear in the world. Keanu was not that funny, but the search for identity was still there.
With that in mind, I felt more comfortable watching Get Out to see how Peele approaches the subject matter. What had me more on edge, however, was how the film would handle as a work of contemporary horror. Does it belong in the garbage like all the rest or has Peele learned from the greats?
While on a trip to meet his girlfriend’s parents Chris, played by Daniel Kaluuya, becomes uncomfortable surrounded by so many white people. Things begin to escalate when he notices the black housekeepers acting strange.
Get Out is great. I was wrong to think it was going to proselytize socio-political nonsense at me like a Young Turks video. In fact, it does the opposite in every respect. Before I get into it, buy yourself a ticket while you still can.
The horror and prejudice elements go hand in hand in what I would like to call Social Horror. Where Body Horror makes you afraid of your own skin, Get Out makes you afraid of your opinions. Rather than shame you like I thought it was going to, the movie makes you think about your perception of culture.
Do you really appreciate people from another background or is your affection really ignorance hidden behind compliments? Are you defeating prejudice by calling out differences or contributing to it? It points out the blatant contradictions of Virtue Signaling, bringing to mind the idea that those who try to appear “progressive” are only hurting themselves and others. They organize and quantify other groups and cultures like trading cards for brownie points (no pun intended).
“How many black friends do you have?” “How many refugees will you keep in your home(s)?” “How many Asians have you slept with?” These question and more are asked by real people, in real life, especially the second one as of late.
Another example of Virtue Signaling comes from my favorite Anti-Semitic pig, Jonathan McIntosh. When Tracer from Overwatch was revealed to be a lesbian, he made a point that character designers do not understand lesbians because she is physically appealing to men. Perhaps he was implying designers are not familiar enough with different body types, but to anyone using their brain, it is clear that McIntosh is about as narrow-minded as they come. To him, the archetypical lesbian has the figure of a Walmart shopper (and I say that as one myself) with ugly, poorly dyed hair, and is a frequent reader of the Huffington Post. Using McIntosh logic, Portia de Rossi, Ruby Rose, Jillian Michaels, and many of my friends cannot be gay because they are attractive and take care of themselves.
By Virtue Signaling and trying to stand up for the LGBT Community, the “progressive” swine exposed his belief in a stereotype. McIntosh fell into the same trap and treated a group of people according to a singular and ill-informed perspective.
Leave it to an SJW to ignore nuance and context.
Get Out uses Virtue Signaling for its horror. The moment Chris meets the parents he in bombarded with condescension. The father, played by Bradley Whitford, uses black slang to appear hip and remarks that he would have voted for Obama a third time if he could (keep dreaming, Normies). He also calls to attention the employment of black housekeepers and makes sure to point out how he is ashamed of himself. The brother character, played by Caleb Landry Jones, is worse when he says Chris would make an excellent MMA fighter because his people are naturally athletic.
These moments and more are very comfortable because at one point we have all had the same experience. There is no denying that some stereotypes turn out to be true. We do not like to think they are, but more often than not they come to mind. Regardless of where they come from, we have these thoughts and Get Out uses this shame to its advantage. In fact, it goes both ways for the characters where Chris is puzzled when the black people do not act like his idea of black people. Is he really better than the white characters or is there something going on behind the scenes?
Even without the Social Horror Get Out could work on direction and aesthetics alone. There are jump scares with an accompanying violin screech, but it works with the overall tone. From the start the film is set up like a classic Twilight Zone nightmare. You would think it was made in the 70s early 80s at first glance with it glossy look and muted color scheme. Peele also proves himself to be quite handy with a camera with a lot of nice shots. There are a couple long shots around the beginning that were simple, but great. Hopefully he does more in the future.
Go see Get Out. It is excellent as contemporary horror this early in the year and provides provocative commentary on prejudice. Ignore everything you heard online from people who probably were not paying attention. The movie does not take a side and leaves you to draw your own conclusions.