How Jordan Peele Redefines Horror Genre | Get Out Film Analysis

21 Jan 2021

4 Min Read

What is horror? Some might say it’s a genre of B–movies or cinema’s cash–cow genre, but these were for the past. Why? Because the new wave of horror films has somewhat taken a new course where there is meaning, cultural message, and special plot lines that open up a new door for the horror genre. The horror genre has seen new level movies that are all parts of the re-emergence of the genre in the last couple of decades or so. Films like The Conjuring, Insidious, Cloverfield, Sinister, and some special ones like Velvet Buzzsaw. But in this new wave, there are films like Get Out and Us that takes it even further with the meaning, plotline, and character design.

Jordan Peele’s small-budgeted independent film, Get Out which is also his directorial debut feature film, not only was the most profitable film of 2017 – with a whopping 630% return on investment, but also a work of art that tells us the scary story behind prejudice and systemic racism. Get Out received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, which is the first for an African-American nominee and Peele was the first black filmmaker and the third filmmaker of all time after Warren Beatty for Heaven Can Wait (1978) and James L. Brooks for Terms of Endearment (1983), that ever nominated for the trifecta of directing, writing, and producing in the same year for his debut feature film.
Jordan Peele Wining The Oscar For Get Out
The simple yet rich plot of Get Out brings us to the life of a young African-American photographer Chris Washington where he met his white girlfriend’s family. He met the privileged white liberal family led by hypnotherapist Missy for the first time during a weekend trip to their home in the woods – a family that he notices later to have incredibly disturbing secrets. Of course, Rose’s parents, Dean and Missy, who are vocally liberal and seemingly open-minded, welcome Chris into their home but almost immediately act the opposite way of these traits, which makes Chris increasingly uncomfortable. A good scene in which we can get some clues of the family’s true color is where Dean insists that he would have “voted for Obama a third time” if he could while talking down to his two black house staff.
Armitage's Black House Staff Not Being Treated Well
But what’s interesting about Chris’s character is that he quietly absorbs this information, perhaps privately wincing it but doesn’t say anything. This also happens when a police officer pulls over the couple on the road and asks for Chris’s ID, even though Rose is driving, just because of the color of his skin showing that Chris is not safe even in everyday situations. So Chris, like so many black people living in America today, has grown used to being treated with suspicion and disrespect and knows that this is a very real problem for anyone viewed as ‘other’ by a large portion of society. And this is how the horror of the film starts before we even see ‘The Sunken Place’ or Dean and Missy reveal their true intentions when we look through the potential danger in a black citizen’s life.
Police Asking For Chris's ID Just Because he Is African-American
Another strange thing that Peele put in the movie is the way people around the Armitage family think of Chris. When Armitage’s wealthy friends show up for a garden party and Chris and Rose are out for a walk, we glimpse the partygoers playing a game of “bingo” that slowly reveals itself to be a kind of auction where they seem to be placing bids on Chris.

So what we learn from a movie like Get Out is that if you want to experience fear, you don’t have to live in a world like The Nun where there are supernatural creatures who hunt people, but instead, all you have to do is to see the world from the perspective of another race. And this is how the horror genre has turned from jump scars to thoughtful scars in which the scary antagonist can also seem very natural and human in the form of society.

Haunted Chris

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