By Eric Preisler
Directed and written by Jordan Peele of “Key & Peele” fame, “Get Out” addresses socially relevant issues and creates unsettling and uncomfortable moments, which contribute to its eccentric horror theme.
The opening scene sets the tone for the film, as a car follows a black man walking through a middle class suburban neighborhood at night. This scene, though it starts off humorous, gets more intense as each moment passes. It is the first instance of social injustice and racism, and foreshadows the gravity of the film, which carries a deep message under its seemingly innocuous themes.
We are later introduced to Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), when she asks him to visit her family. Chris is initially hesitant because Rose had not told her family that he is black.
In a vivid and telling scene, Rose is driving Chris to meet her family when she hits a deer with her car. It is evident that Chris is deeply affected by this as he looks into the dying deer’s eyes.
We can feel his pain through the screen and later learn that his mother died in a car accident when he was a kid, however, Rose does not bat an eyelash or show any remorse for killing the deer, even if by accident.
Similarly, after recounting the incident to Rose’s father, his response is that more deer should die. Rose and her father’s unsympathetic reactions, although subtle, foreshadow their true characters, which are revealed later in the film. Their lack of empathy also could symbolize the lack of acknowledgement to social injustice and the harm it causes in society.
At first, Rose’s parents seem friendly and glad to meet Chris. Rose’s dad even feels the need to express that he voted for Obama to show how “not racist” he is, which adds to the discomfort of the atmosphere. The later turn of events shed light on the reality that even outwardly harmless people can be unsympathetic to social issues.
Throughout the film, Chris, who is a photographer, escapes the discomfort of being around Rose’s family by capturing photographs with his camera and phone. The camera carries symbolism, as cameras and cell phones have been used to capture and shed light on social justice issue in society.
One of the most sinister characters is Jim Hudson, a blind art collector. Although he says he is not racist, Jim is still eager to use the opportunity of the others’ harmful intentions toward Chris to his own advantage. This aspect of the film sheds light on the effects of being “color blind,” without acknowledging or acting out against social injustice –– not being prejudiced does little to prevent social injustice from occurring.
“Get Out” is an extremely well executed horror movie that evokes suspense and shock while it brings to attention the problems of social injustice and racism. The plot becomes increasingly unsettling and captivating, which was ingeniously written and performed.