The directorial debut of Jordan Peele of Key and Peele fame, GET OUT (2017) is an okay horror movie but its concepts are intriguing.
Chris, a Black photographer, travels with his White girlfriend Rose Armitage to visit her parents at their rural estate. Chris is struck by how White the community is, a situation that is made even more uncomfortable by the people he meets making racial comments and asking racial questions. The only Black people he meets are the help, and their strange Stepford quality puts him on edge. When he meets another Black man acting strangely and whom Chris thinks he knows, things start to unravel for him and he learns the truth. He is there for a very specific reason.
As a horror movie, the film is okay. I found the pacing clunky and a bit slow, the horror elements fairly standard for the fare. The film’s racial subject matter, however, makes it feel bold and fresh. While horror movies have long tackled uncomfortable political and social topics, in my view this is the first that takes on race in such a provocative way.
Peele made the film during the “post-racial” Obama years, when White American society congratulated itself on conquering overt racism. What Chris encounters is a different kind of racism, a kinder form of it often ascribed to liberals but could actually be ascribed to White people generally. He is asked questions like whether he regards Black as being an advantage or disadvantage, and admired as a Black man for having natural stereotyped perceived advantages such as athletic ability, sexual process and natural cool. Living in their ivory community, the Whites in the movie actually envy Chris for being Black, showing ignorance of what being Black in America really entails despite the cultural whitewashing.
The result is B for storytelling, A for ideas. The vehicle felt pretty standard to me, but the ideas it conveys make the film feel bold and fresh.