Originally published on CommonSpace.
Director Jordan Peele has a scathing satirical eye, and it’s that what makes Get Out worthy of the praise.
Typical jump-scare horror tropes are all present and accounted for, but the real scares are found in the film’s fearless attitude towards race relations in a seemingly tolerant and liberal neighbourhood.
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is off to visit his girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) parents for the weekend, but he feels some trepidation since she hasn’t told her parents he’s black.
Rose reassures him it’s fine – her dad would have voted for Obama for a third term – and off they go.
A black groundskeeper and a black maid do little to ease Chris’s concerns, and his interactions with everyone he meets makes the Office’s cringe humour feel tame. Whether it’s a relative of Rose’s telling Chris he must be athletic or another commenting how black is trendy at the moment, this is a black narrative holding a mirror up to self-labelled progressive and middle class white people who mask their racism through aggressive praise.
Most of the laughs come from awkward conversations and Chris’s friend, Rod Williams of the Transportation Security Administration, who is back home dogsitting. His distrust of the entire situation turns from comical to justified, and he’s not about to sit back and leave Chris in danger.
This isn’t a Trump-style racism – it’s fetishisation of blackness from those who are loud and proud ‘allies’. The antagonists are reminiscent of Hot Fuzz, keeping everything slightly ridiculous. It’s to the film’s benefit, as violence towards people of colour is a horrifying reality, and Get Out stays light hearted and fantastical enough to avoid anything too heavy. It’s telling that a real heart-sinking moment comes in the form of police sirens.
It’s both funny and scary, but where it really shines is Peele’s assertive satire, unafraid to pick apart behaviours all too familiar to anyone with black skin.