Posted on November 17, 2019
This is the second post I am writing on the horror in a horror movie. This corresponds with the current unit we are doing in PLP on horror. I previously wrote a post on the movie Halloween (1978), and if you would like to read it you can click here. This post as you can probably tell, is about the movie Get Out, directed by Jordan Peele. Warning! There are spoilers ahead.
Get Out is a modern horror movie released in 2017. The premise of the movie is a African American man goes to meet his girlfriends parents at their house, and they are insane people who are also racist. Unlike most other horror movies, the horror isn’t in blood and gore, even though there is some of that in this movie. The horror in this movie is confusion and mind control. For the majority of the movie you know that something is wrong, but you aren’t sure what. The unknown is a very scary thing. People like to know what is happening and what everything means, and they can become uncomfortable and scared when they don’t know. People also have a fear of the unconscious. They are afraid of the subconscious mind taking over and doing things that they would never do. Get Out contains a lot of mind control. The main goal of the villains is to take out half of a persons brain and replace it with someone else’s, making that person lose all control of their body. It is a terrifying though to be trapped in your body, watching as someone else controls what you do.
As far as I can tell from this movie, the villains don’t do any killing. What they do is kidnap African American people, hypnotize them, then put someone else’s brain in their body. The motivation for this is to keep everyone in their family alive and strong. They purposely choose young, black people as their victims because they feel that being black is “in style” and they want to be current. They also feel that they are stronger and more athletically inclined. Each individual old white person also chooses their new body based on their own personal desires. For example, the grandpa of the family chose a body that was a fast runner because he was a runner when he was young, and wanted to continue pursuing that passion. This isn’t specifically mentioned in the movie, but there is defiantly racism as a motivation for the choosing of the victims. The all white family probably doesn’t want to kidnap white people because the media would make a much bigger deal of a white person going missing than an African American person.
A huge reason this movie was so successful was they style in which it was filmed. It was directed by Jordan Peele and he did an amazing job of telling this story. The movie is shot from the perspective of Chris, the protagonist. For the majority of the movie, you only know as much as he knows. The perspective occasionally switches to show you a clue to try and help you put together what is happening. This added an element of mystery into the movie that makes it stand out even more. This movie also does a great job of using sound to tell the story. The music sets the tone and often makes you feel uncomfortable. The teacup played a big part in this movie, and it’s not easy to notice the first time you watch the movie, but after already having seen the movie before the sound of the spoon stirring in the tea cup is made very prominent. It gives you another hint into figuring out what is happening as you watch the movie.
Get Out was written and set in 2017, which also happened to be a year when police brutality came into the light and was a huge issue in America. African American people were being targeted by the police and not treated as equals to white people. This is still happening today, and African Americans are being hurt, and even killed for crimes they didn’t commit, just because of the colour of their skin. This issue was echoed in the movie. At the beginning of the movie Chris’s girlfriend hits a deer with her car on the way to her parents house, and she calls the police. They ask her for her I.D. because she was the driver of the vehicle, but they also ask Chris for his I.D. They obviously asked him this because of the colour of his skin, and when Chris’s girlfriend pointed this out, the cop backed away. Even in the last scene of the movie when the cop car pulls up and see’s Chris killing the villains, you think that Chris will be the one in trouble because of the colour of his skin. There also was and still is lots of racism in America and that is a big issue that is shown through out this movie. It really makes you think about how racism is still effecting so many lives today.
Get Out isn’t a normal horror movie. It really tackles one of the biggest issues, and that is systemic racism. I recently read an article called, Jordan Peele on How He Tackled Systemic Racism as Horror in ‘Get Out’. This article talks about how casual racism is just as bad as true racism. You still get the same pit in your stomach when you can tell that the white family is racist. Jordan Peele said, “The gut punch of the movie is ultimately meant to say that racism is a human problem and the ‘woke’ people know not to call themselves ‘woke.’”. The movie is full of metaphors for different aspects of racism and what it is like to be an African American facing it.
As mentioned in a previous post, we have just finished reading Frankenstein in PLP. There are many similarities and differences between Frankenstein and Get Out. In Frankenstein, the creature just wants to be liked by people, and does nothing wrong but is still shunned just because of his appearance. Just like how Chris is treated differently by the white family because of the colour of his skin. It is a scary thought to think that people can hate you, and want to kill you just based on how you look, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. In Frankenstein, the horror is much more obvious. It’s the fact that there is a literal scary monster that is killing everyone Frankenstein loves. In Get Out, the horror is much more complicated and harder to understand why you are afraid through most of the movie.
Get Out is a fantastic horror movie. There is a reason it is so highly rated and won so many awards. It is a new kind of horror movie that is very different from the slasher and paranormal horror movies that we are used to. It is part of the new era of horror movies that are about more than just getting scared. It is part of the reason that horror movies are so popular now. It’s a horror movie that will still scare you, but you’ll be thinking about the meaning of it for long after.