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?Get Out? written and directed by Jordan Peele has been regarded by many online publications such as Rolling Stone, Vulture, and Complex to be one of the top Horror films in 2017. With a budget of only $4.5 million, ?Get Out? was able to generate $252,434,250 worldwide making it the 9th most profitable movie of the year.
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This low-budget horror film from one-half of the creative team of ?Key and Peele? was able to produce a film that figured a pretty basic task that most people have to face: meeting your significant other?s family for the first time. The task in itself can be nerve-racking, but when race is introduced to the picture, things get a bit unpredictable.
?Get Out? is a 2017 rendition of the 1967 classic ?Guess Who?s Coming to Dinner,? mixed with the psychological thriller aspect of ?The Stepford Wives.?
Image via Columbia PicturesImage via Columbia Pictures
What makes ?Get Out? different than the rest of traditional horrors movies is the fact that it tackle issues of racism. The protagonist of the story, Chris Washington, a 26-year-old black man (played by actor Daniel Kaluuya) accompanies his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage (played by Allison Williams), to visit her parent?s in an affluent suburb.
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Rose?s parents are characterized as the type of white people who would have voted for Obama for a third term if it were possible. From the beginning of the movie, you get an eerie sense that statement is something you would hear from white person who identifies as a liberal more often than not.
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Being a black man myself, I feel that this is something I hear quite frequently from that community. I feel as though it is a way for people to show that they could never be a racist and that they ?don?t see color? as an issue.
This films address racism but not in a traditional route. When it comes to a racism-themed horror movie, you would expect a story about a Haunted Klansman taking the lives of unsuspecting black people running for their lives.
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However, ?Get Out? addresses a different type of racism that is a little more subtle. A type of racism that is more covert and not so obvious. This is the type of racism that can possibly be the reason why you have to watch the tone you speak while talking to police to not sound treating and wind up in the obituaries.
Peele was a true mastermind when it came producing the film and layering ?Get Out? with symbolism and satire that mirror the black experience in current times. The movie started with a cold open of young black man walking down an unfamiliar street in a swanky suburb trying to get to his girlfriend?s house.
As he walks down the street, you see a white car drive behind him playing eerie music. The driver slowly stalks the young black man until he is fed up and decides to walk in a different direction. A man with a metal helmet dressed in all black appears from the cars. He chokes the unsuspecting man and drags his lifeless body back to the car.
This scene seems to be a representation of the death of Trayvon Martin by the hands of neighborhood watch coordinator, George Zimmerman, on February 26, 2012. The black man walking in an unaccustomed neighborhood is similar to that of Trayvon Martin as they were both in the wrong place at wrong time and attacked by a total stranger. This is a common fear for most people of color. If they were like me, they are told to be aware of their surroundings at all times because of situations highlighted in this scene.
Peele wanted the audience watching the film to feel the anxiety of what it is like to be a black in America by adding situation throughout the film that has high stakes but would have a much different connotation if the lead was a white man.
For instance, the characters Chris and Rose drive to her parent?s house what seems to be up state New York. On their way they hit a deer crossing the road and freaks Chris out. Rose is the driver of the car and calls the police. The police arrive and talk to Rose about the situation and proceed to ask Chris to show his state ID. Sounds like a routine traffic stop until Rose goes into defense mode essentially calling the police?s inquiry for Chris?s ID bullshit. Luckily, the police officer sends them on their way without any hangups.
Situations like this bring fear to many people of color. Peele taps into the psyche of a black man during a traffic stop as he chooses to use a back and forth cut to show the emotions of Chris as his girlfriend uses her privilege to talk to the police officer any way she wanted. You can see the expression on Chris?s face when Rose calls the officer an ?asshole.? It?s a face that is in disbelief and wonder as to how she could say such a thing and be free.
Being black we are taught to be extremely respectful around police officer?s even if we may be on the right side of the law in the situation. We have too many reminders in the news on how things could go south when dealing with a law enforcer. Ask the family of Philando Castile or Eric Garner what could go wrong, I?m sure they will tell you about excessive force.
The film is currently up for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture in the Musical and Comedy category, which is more of a testament to horror and thriller movies not having a category of their own. The placement of the movie is not completely wrong as the movie does have some funny moments, but it does not take away from the message that Peele conveys to the audience.
The film was made to show the audience what racially motivated anxiety of being a black person feels like. It shows what goes through the mind a black person in an interracial relationship meeting their significant other for the first time. You have to ask your parent a question which shouldn?t really matter but does. ?Does your parent know I am black??
The fact that this horror movie is up for any award this year goes to show you the impact this movie had. Black directors are notoriously underrepresented when it comes to the film industry and it great to see a movie like ?Get Out? become so successful giving young black kids, like myself, a template to follow to be just as successful.
Here some links to about ?Get Out? for the film junkies.