By Michael Welch `17
Get Out has eclipsed Lego Batman as the top movie at the box office in its opening weekend. The film takes cues from the horror, thriller, and comedy genres to address themes of race in a true tour de force.
What makes Get Out so exciting, besides a rare 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, is Jordan Peele’s involvement. Peele, who rose to fame through comedy, both wrote and directed the film. His credits for writing for film only include the also well-received Keanu which debuted in 2016. He wrote that film alongside Keegan-Michael Key who Peele wrote and co-starred Key & Peele with for five successful seasons.
Get Out is the first time many fans of the show are seeing Peele without his friend and co-star. Jordan’s fans may also not be accustomed to seeing his involvement restricted to working behind the camera only. Get Out establishes Peele as, like his film, a true tour de force being able to work his genius behind the camera as well. The film still has the same wit and charm that made Key & Peele so great, but intertwined with genuine scares and general unease. The transition from television to film has never looked so easy.
Get Out uses genre conventions to dive into social issues like no other movie before it. When interviewed by Forbes, Peele talked about inspirations for Get Out. “I definitely looked at Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives as tonal [inspirations] for Get Out, especially because as those movies are developing we reveal more and more about this sort of awful direction it’s heading. I love The Shining. I think for most horror fans it’s going to be high on their list.”
Peele’s love of classic horror shows in Get Out, but he was able to take the classic horror elements these films convey and transform them into a project that is completely unique. Films like Rosemary’s Baby and The Shining often explore the horror that can be found in ordinary things like family. Get Out takes the experience of a white woman bringing her black boyfriend home to meet her family and twists it to make it a horror survivalist experience.
Get Out is not an autobiography, but Peele did draw on personal experience and the experience of black Americans as a whole when writing. When asked about how personal the movie was for him, Peele said, “It is a very personal story. It’s a horror movie that is from an African American’s perspective. It very quickly veers off from anything autobiographical, but I think what interested me most about this movie was dealing with racism, really everything from the subtle racism that many people may not know exists on a day to day basis, or for a lot of people…To the more extreme racism and everything in between.”
Horror films from the perspective of black Americans are rare enough, but a horror film that organically addresses racism is even rarer. Peele’s fanbase will only grow from the massive success of Get Out, and fans are eager to see how he will work his blend of perspective, humor, and horror into his next project.