It turns out none of us is quite as forward-thinking as we’d like to imagine we are. That’s one of the major takeaways from Get Out, the incisive new thriller from Jordan Peele of TV’s sketch comedy duo Key & Peele. And the movie itself is funny, though it’s certainly not a comedy. It’s first and foremost a real horror movie, one with serious racial tones, and one that pulls no punches.
We meet Chris, a black man, and Rose, a white woman, as they’re preparing to meet Rose’s family together for the first time. Chris, naturally, is wary, especially considering Rose hasn’t told her family he’s black. No matter, Rose says, her family is very progressive and her father is bound to tell Chris how he would have voted for Barack Obama for a third term if he could have. She assures Chris there’s absolutely nothing to worry about.
But, of course, there is something to worry about. When they get to the family’s expansive estate, it’s clear that something’s just not quite right. Rose’s parents seem perfectly nice, though Rose’s brother is bizarrely aggressive. But stranger are the two black servants the family employs, who seem almost robotic in their words and actions, and who have nothing remotely bad to say about their employers at any point. It just seems almost too perfect.
Where this goes, what happens from here, I won’t say, because a large part of the fun, and the horror, is discovering just what lurks beneath the surface of this apparently idyllic family structure. And while Get Out is obviously informed by movies that have come before like Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives, it does feel like we’re seeing something new. The racial component of the film isn’t just a convenient device, it’s integral to the movie’s story and its success, as it seems that, despite what comes, Rose’s family really does believe they’re as open-minded as they could be when it comes to race. And that’s something that forces us all to ask the same question about ourselves.