We saw Get Out, the horror movie by the comedian Jordan Peele. I am not a horror movie fan or, more accurately, I didn’t think I was until I heard the genera explained on Terry Gross’ Fresh Air the day before the movie. Apparently, there are two species of horror films, the slasher in which some relentless force, like Freddy Kruger, is chasing the protagonist and movies in which the protagonist is sucked into what looks normal but seems slightly off. I want to add that a horror film must also have creepy music.
The second kind of film, the sucked in one, turns out to be the kind of film I really like. Rosemary’s Baby is one of my favorite movies and I have always chalked it up to Roman Polanski, turns out that I just like horror movies (although Polanski did a great job). One of my favorite movies from last year was 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Get Out is stylish, witty, and great fun to watch. It also approaches race and racism in an eye-opening way and we saw it in a racially mixed, packed theater. As an aside, when I say racially mixed, I really mean a higher than usual proportion of African-Americans. Silicon Valley is about 32% Asian, 26% Hispanic, 35% white and only 2% black and I think most of the 2% are former pro-ball players who are now investors. End aside. Peele, the director, is black and so is the protagonist and point of view of the movie – which, I suspect, changed our usual theater demographic breakdown – but most of the actors in the movie, and the guys we are rooting against, are white.
Looking back at my headline, the hero being black is an integral part of the movie in that he is an outsider. Like all outsiders, he has outsider-radar and is seeing things that are slightly off but his desire to please, to be a good black man, keeps overriding his instincts (but, of course, not ours). The instincts, that are not reciprocal, that any outsider, including women I suspect, must have about the insiders…if they are going to survive.
As an after thought, the movie is also funny at times and there was one scare, after which the audience clapped, in effect saying Nice, you got me!