Warning: Major SPOILERS for Get Out ahead
As one half of famed comedy duo Key & Peele, Jordan Peele has long been a leading voice in entertainment, but his directorial debut, Get Out, has fast emerged as his tour de force. The film roared out of the gate with a massive $30.5 million opening weekend, notching widespread critical acclaim, rampant online buzz, and a near-perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes in the process. With only a $4.5 million budget, it’s already a bona fide hit.
The project is half comedy, half psychological thriller, transforming everyday race relations into a horror satire that’s both hyper-relevant and chilling. It stars Daniel Kaluuya (Black Mirror) and Allison Williams (Girls) as Chris and Rose, an interracial couple who travel back to Rose’s largely white, suburban hometown to meet her affluent parents. Once there, Chris grows increasingly uneasy with the neighborhood’s overly enthusiastic welcome, and it turns out his anxieties are for good reason. It’s slowly revealed that the Armitage family is part of The Order of The Coagula, a cult-like group that transplants the consciousness of older white friends and relatives into young, hypnotized black people in order to achieve pseudo-immortality. Upon realizing the truth, Chris does his best to escape.
The ending leaves it vague whether Chris ultimately “got out” or if Rose survived the gunshot inflicted upon her during his getaway. Peele has yet to clarify exactly where the characters end up, but he did provide a spoiler-heavy explanation of what the final moments mean in a greater context. As he told ScreenJunkies in an interview:
“It’s still kind of a form of slavery, right? They’re taking the bodies, and they’re using their will on it to control these bodies. Ultimately, the movie ends up talking about the exotification and the love of the black body and culture. It’s just as twisted a form of racism as the darker, more violent forms of racism. It’s all a piece of the same thing…It’s really meant to point out that any time we see color first or we categorize one another as a race, we’ve already lost an important part of what being human should be.”
He also said that the social commentary touted in Get Out is something he hopes to explore in future projects throughout the next decade.
“I love this idea of the social thriller, and that the worst monster you can explore in a horror movie is human beings themselves. I have these other films I want to do in the next 10 years or so about different social monsters … I think the scariest thing we don’t talk about enough is that when people get together, we’re capable of the most beautiful constructions and projects in the world, we’re also capable of the darkest things. It’s kind of a flaw in humanity, our need to scapegoat, our desire to protect our own over the needs of others. It’s just, we’re animals. Our brains are trying to rationalize these crazy animalistic instincts are up to.”
That doesn’t explain much about what actually happened to Chris and Rose, but the specifics aren’t really the point. Part of what’s so masterful about Get Out is how Peele turned well-worn horror tropes into a meaningful, cinematic think-piece about a specific subset of white racism. In particular, seemingly innocuous allies whose celebration of Black identity can, at times, actually heighten racial tensions. It shows that bigotry is not always as explicit as some like to think it is, and forces viewers to take a hard look at the subtleties of everyday race relations. If that was only the first of many films Peele has in store, there’s no telling what genius is brewing behind scenes.
Get Out is currently in theaters.