By: William Strang-Moya, Columnist
As an avid watcher of “Key and Peele,” I was enthused to hear that Jordan Peele was directing a horror movie. His enjoyment of and familiarity with the genre is reflected in “Get Out.” I’ll try not to spoil the film as much as possible, but no promises.
“Get Out” is about race. It is about microaggressions. It is about racially exclusive social cues, and it shamelessly confronts the silent tensions that accompany being a person of color in modern America.
The story follows a young black photographer and his white girlfriend as they visit her parents for the weekend. Needless to say, her family is weird and racist, and of course things go awry. “Get Out” abides by many conventions of horror, and given what many argue is a sensitive subject matter, Peele was able to truly cultivate a nuanced approach to the horror genre.
Comedy is no stranger to horror, and it is this relationship that enables this particular film to elicit a panic response. Everyone has had the ever-uncomfortable experience of the first meeting with their significant other’s parents. It is awkward. Though this scenario is often hilarious, it is seldom without anxiety. The story being told through the eyes of a privileged, — how many photographers can honestly afford to live alone in NYC before they are 30 years old? — young black man in an interracial relationship draws the empathy of a very broad and diverse audience
Like many horror movies of the 1960s, “Get Out” is a story about a cult and the silent tension brought on by the shortcomings of American “social equity.” “Rosemary’s Baby” made a statement about women’s reproductive rights and the nature of abusive relationships, just as “Get Out” speaks on behalf of the victims of unspoken prejudices and microaggressive behavior. “Get Out” is, of course, not the first horror movie about the black experience in America. In the ‘90s, films such as “Tales from the Hood” and“The People Under the Stairs” touched heavily on this matter. They did so in what I believe was in a manner appropriate to their time.
“Get Out” is the product of a learned horror cinephile.
There are subtle references to films such as “Poltergeist,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Reanimator,” and many more. Peele argues that America is not a post-racial entity, but rather a nation that seeks to paint over its institutional impropriety concerning race relations. Given its incredible box office success, “Get Out” will surely pave the way for a new and unique era of mainstream horror.