WHY WERE THEY ONLY ABDUCTING BLACK PEOPLE?
This is where Get Out hits on "the message" and thus also the twist within its twist: The Order aren't traditional racists - or, at least, not the type of racists Hollywood is traditionally more comfortable calling out and posturing against. They aren't neo-Nazis, Klansmen or White Nationalists. There are no white hoods, Confederate flags, swastikas or even a "Make America Great Again" cap anywhere to be found. These are "good" White People: proud, well-off and self-satisfied "Liberals" who are very likely being completely sincere about their Obama votes, their love of Black celebrities and their appreciation for (and desire to "connect" with) Black culture.
But that's precisely the issue. Peele's film is using a well-worn horror movie narrative (specifically, the narrative of The Stepford Wives - a paranoid 1970s chiller in which a woman discovers that the men of her suspiciously-perfect small town are replacing their "difficult" feminist wives with obedient, submissive 1950s-style robot duplicates) in order to needle a very specific subset of White racism: "Nice" Liberals who are insistent of their non-racism because they admire an abstract ideal of Blackness while not actually engaging or regularly encountering any actual Black people.
The Armitages and their friends admire Black culture, Black stars, the Black ex-President - pretty much anyone Black they know from television or the movies. Not only don't they mind their children dating Black people, they'd be proud to be married to a Black spouse themselves! After all, like they keep telling Chris at the party: being Black is "fashionable" now, especially since Black people are innately "cool" and naturally more athletically gifted - opinions they probably see as not only being not racist but the exact opposite thereof. The guy who "bought" Chris' body quite literally "doesn't see race" - he's blind, and desires what he's been told is Chris' excellent eye for photography. They're so progressively in love with "Blackness" that they'd like nothing better than to be Black themselves - they just don't happen to see actual, individual Black people as "human" enough to have any moral compunctions about enslaving their minds and hijacking their bodies in order to increase their "totally not racist"-ness.
As social commentary goes, that's some pretty tough, scathing stuff; all-but certain to provoke maximum discomfort in "good liberal" white audiences who may have turned up to cheer for the hero putting the beatdown on the kind of "evil redneck caveman" racist Hollywood more often deploys as a "safe" vision of bigotry and instead see more of themselves in Get Out's villains than they'd care to grapple with. But horror movies with a message falter when they aren't willing to play for keeps, and Get Out is aiming to send its audience home with something to think about beyond the big scares - though whether it actually connects will be up for each individual viewer to decide.
Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele, is now in theaters.
Next: Get Out Review
- Get Out (2017) release date: Feb 24, 2017