Horror films usually ask us to fear supernatural creatures, such as zombies, vampires, werewolves and ghosts. However, there is nothing scarier in this world than real people, and Jordan Peele’s newly-released horror film Get Out clarifies this fact. The movie highlights actual fears of oppression and the constant threats looming over people of color. It also comments on the re-emergence of white supremacy, especially in this time of American politics. It encompasses the subtle racism that often lies behind the post-racial United States. “It is one of the very, very few horror movies that does jump off of racial fears,” Peele said in an interview.
In Get Out, Charlie and his girlfriend, Rose, go on a trip to meet Rose’s parents, who are white and live in a predominantly white town. Charlie is awkwardly greeted by Rose’s parents after they had just learned he was black. The tension between them increases when Charlie learns other black people have mysteriously disappeared after visiting the town.
Many are calling the movie racist due to the fact that it is specifically focused on a black person’s experience. Some are also saying it’s presentation of racism is far-fetched, although it focuses on the current topic of devaluation of black lives that killed people like Trayvon Martin, Walter Scott, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner in the last few years.
Writer and director Peele says nobody has really made a thriller about race since Night of the Living Dead (1968). Night of the Living Dead was not necessarily meant to be about race, but it was interpreted that way due to the time period in which it was released. This was a bold move for Peele, and an influential step in the horror genre, which has historically treated black characters with apathy or even hatred. Peele sets out to debunk the myth of post-racialism by showing that the country is still influenced by historically conditioned views on race.