Get the heck out of here!
Jordan Peele has developed an admirable reputation for being a phenomenal actor, comedian, and writer. Peele’s fame skyrocketed due to his laugh out loud series on Comedy Central entitled “Key & Peele”. While most Jordan Peele fans recognize him for his comedic talents, Peele made a noteworthy directing debut in the latest horror film called “Get Out”. The rookie director’s film released to the public on February 24th, 2017. He was noted as the first African American writer to earn $100 Million in a movie debut. Horror fanatics loved the film, while others, believed the film was portrayed as weak and dull. In my opinion, I thought the film provided a unique twist in the horror film community, due to the protagonist’s race. The concept of an African American protagonist in a horror film is a rarely used film idea. I believe Peele created an academy award winning film, based off the main protagonist alone. However, Peele’s hair-raising plot in the film, only strengthens his protagonist concept. Peele’s film begins with the main protagonist, Chris Washington, and his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage. The young couple have been together for months, and Rose proposed to have Chris meet her parents. Once Chris and Rose meet at the Armitage’s countryside estate, Rose’s parents, Dean and Missy greet them. Chris takes note of how strangely accepting Rose’s family is. The warm vibe comforted Chris, until he became aware of the uncanny appeal of his ethnicity. The Armitage’s believed African Americans were pure and talented individuals, and therefore profitable from their mind and body. Jordan Peele’s unique idea of modernized body and mind control proved to be a smashing success for his career.
According to an article entitled, “Get Out Understands the Black Body” by Ira Madison, a reviewer from Music Television, the film proved to provide the African American community with an enticing, non-cliche story. Madison embellished on the idea of African Americans in traditional horror films. He claimed that, “In horror, black men traditionally possess one of two roles: a first-act victim or the comic relief that provides running commentary on how black people don’t go upstairs and investigate a scary noise, they run out the house, or some other variation on the white people are dumb and get killed joke.” On the other hand, “Get Out” gave Ira Madison justice. In Madison’s article he stressed the importance of how Jordan Peele steered- away from the cliche horror film scene. (Madison). Adding on to Madison’s argument, a typical cliche horror film incorporates common scenes, items, or ideas used over and over again in horror films, causing horror fans to become uninterested in the same movie plots. For example, bad cell phone reception or a car that won’t start, both have become such commonly used cliches in horror films, that audience members could care less if a car started. Furthermore, Madison believed “Get Out” was a featured spotlight in the African American community. In addition, no matter what anyone says, I think Peele made a groundbreaking decision by incorporating an African American as the protagonist, and his film grabbed the audience’s attention.
A second article called “‘Get Out’: Peele’s directorial debut an intense thriller, cultural commentary,” written by Brooke Corso from The Monitor, offered a similar perspective to Madison. However, Corso focused on the aspect of the Armitage’s housekeeper named Georgina, and her husband caretaker named Walter. Corso stated, “Chris, is constantly tugged between studying and being studied as Chris sees enough to be wary of the surface of situations, but fails to spot the warnings confused as threats, as well as the clues that threaten to pull him underneath.” The tensions between the working couple and Chris Washington become blatantly clear, from snide racist comments to dirty looks directed towards Chris. (Corso). Chris fell into a state of restlessness, from the working couple. In one scene during the film, he is seen outside smoking. Missy comes outside to comfort him. Since she’s a psychiatrist, she believed she could hypnotize Chris to stop smoking. Chris laughs from her offer, but ultimately accepts it. At this point, Chris is engulfed in a state called the “Sunken Place”. Once Chris is awakened from the sunken place, he becomes delirious. He isn’t sure if he was in a dream, or in reality. Missy’s hypnotizing also explains Peele’s mind control concept. Missy believed she could control Chris’s mind, and therefore, his body. The armitage’s goal was to “become” one of Chris. They viewed Chris’s race as superior, so they wanted to become a member of his race. In my opinion, I saw Peele’s concept of mind and body control as a modernized “Jeffrey Dahmer” horror film. The infamous serial killer and the Armitages’ believed in taking over people’s bodies. Overall, Brooke Corso believed this aspect of body and mind control built a successful foundation for Peele’s debut film.
A third article scripted as, “Get Out: Jordan Peele Tries His Hand at Horror,” by Jeff Buck, a writer from The Blu Spot, believed that Peele’s film was uninteresting, and distasteful. Buck stated, “Peele also wants to tell a story that should shock us and pull us into its narrative, but he spends so much time playing around and telling you practically nothing more than there’s something strange going on”. In other words, Jeff Buck believes Peele’s idea was strong, however, he believed the way it was portrayed on film was weak. From his perspective, he explained within a horror film community, a director can only build-up the audience so much before they’ll want development in the film. (Buck). Buck’s argument can be applied to any horror film in the industry. Horror directors should be talented enough to captivate an audience, as well as being able to entice the audience to keep watching their film. Whether this being from a bloody murder, or a heart-startling jump scare, these moments create tension in horror films. The main point Buck drives home is the blandness in “Get Out”. Simply, no one will watch Peele’s film if they realize the majority of the film contains anti-climactic scenes. This idea of blandness coined by Buck, creates a dilemma. Is it really worth the time and money to see this film? If there are no climatic scenes, then so what? I disagree with Buck’s argument, because I thought the film was full of tension. First, the idea of body and mind control seemed ultimately terrifying to me. I could never imagine someone wanting to “become” part of me. Second, the concept of race superiority struck a chord with me. Why do the Armitage’s feel so unhappy with their own race? How could this concept be seen as anti-climatic? I think Jeff Buck failed to recognize the “Elephant in the room” in Peele’s outstanding film.
Jordan Peele’s break-through horror film was a groundbreaking success. Peele’s horror film scared up a whopping $204.3 Million in box office sales. Therefore, Hollywood considered “Get Out” to be a huge must-see film. I personally felt moved by Peele’s main theme of body and mind control, as well as race superiority. It’s almost as if Jordan Peele “controlled” us to appreciate his film. While I believed Peele’s film was fantastic, it also left me with a sense of doom. Peele put me in the shoes of Chris Washington, and his struggles of being victimized. The rookie director’s debut left horror film fanatics craving for more. Will there be a sequel in the future?
Buck, Jeff. “Get Out: Jordan Peele Tries His Hand at Horror (Blu-Ray).” Www.thebluspot.com, 22 May 2017, www.thebluspot.com/single-post/2017/05/22/Get-Out-Jordan-Peele-Tries-His-Hand-at-Horror-Blu-ray.
Corso, Brooke. “‘Get Out’: Peele’s directorial debut an intense thriller, cultural commentary.” Www.themonitor.com, 3 Mar. 2017, www.themonitor.com/entertainment/article_7327f86e-0033-11e7-b3d3-03374ba1ae2f.html.
Madison, Ira . “Get Out Understands The Black Body.” Www.mtv.com, 24 Feb. 2017, www.mtv.com/news/2986793/get-out-understands-the-black-body/.