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“Get Out” accomplishes so damn much that it took me a week to process it. What Jordan Peele has done is blend racial fiction conventions with social commentary by way of genre expectations. Harkening back to a period of paranoia horror that reaches its highest point in the mid 1970s, Peele has knocked it out of the park with his first film. Many people will want to go into the film cold and I don’t want to ruin the experience for them, but we’ve got to talk about the construction of the first true 21st Century American horror movie. Yeah, I’m going there.

When people discuss horror, they automatically default to whether it’s something they have or haven’t seen before. Horror as a genre gets hammered with so many additional expectations that don’t befall others. There are only so many ways to scare people, but fear is universal. Application of fear is different. When young Chris is first introduced in the film, we are given a portrait of a man not totally comfortable in any environment.

Chris still carries around guilt about his response to his mother’s death. Chris forms tight relationships with a few friends and is afraid to branch out. All of this seems so alien to his girlfriend Rose and her family. Could the same baggage be inverted onto him? Sure, but it would take a great amount of backstory to make the tenuous grasp work. “Get Out” finds something new to say about horror by making us examine how it applies to our young African American lead.


Authority comes up a lot in horror and suspense. Whether it’s the Springwood parents taking lynch mob revenge, the men of Stepford fixing their wives or Rosemary’s husband knowing that their new home is going to work out. When the impacted in a horror film can’t directly change their station, then it becomes an unshakeable nightmare. The advertising for the film has made effective use of Missy’s hypnotism of Chris. But, that scene and its far reaching impact are the crux to understanding what makes “Get Out” so special.

Rose’s mother Missy doesn’t care about Chris or his dead mother. Missy doesn’t even give a damn about curing Chris’s smoking. When we see Missy break out her hypnotherapy, it’s a weapon of subterfuge meant to further her agenda. “Get Out” works as horror that speaks to removing agency from the victimized. In an era where citizens are being recorded, monitored and antagonized without many avenues to fight back, this film is horror of the moment.

I almost took off points for the rather cliche nature of the ending, but that doesn’t matter in horror. Horror shows fans that all resolution is temporary. Kill one monster and another takes its place. The science behind what happens matter less than Chris just fighting to survive. Plus, it’s not like anyone would believe Chris.


  • R
  • 1 hr and 43 mins
  • Universal


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