Welcome to the Sunken Place: An SML Review of “Get Out”

As a white girl, I always thought I had a healthy enough aversion to garden parties full of rich old white people. But Jordan Peele has proven that there’s a whole level of psycho crazy that I’ve never even imagined.

Welcome to the Sunken Place: An SML Review of “Get Out”

In Get Out, Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) packs up his bags and leaves his spare key with his friend, Rod (Lil Rel Howery), so he can head out to the suburbs with his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams). Chris is nervous about meeting her parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) because he’s Rose’s first black boyfriend. Little did he know that would be the least of his worries.

Even before they get to the sizable Armitage family home, Chris should have read the signs and turned back around. As they drive down the seemingly endless road away from civilization, flanked by tight shoulders on either side, a deer jumps out and clips the front of the car. As the poor creature stares blankly back at Chris from the ground, unable to move, a police officer arrives. Seeing Chris with Rose, he asks for his ID. Chris is cooperative, but Rose gets upset. After all, she was one the driving, so “it’s bullshit” for the officer to insist on seeing Chris’ ID.

Chris shrugs off the encounter as a typical exchange between himself as a young black man and law enforcement. But he loves that Rose stood up for him. This is her territory now, the spacious suburbs, and he’s pleased to be under her watch. That mood continues for the next few scenes: Rose’s parents—and then their friends during an unexpected party—make subtle, anti-racist comments (that are actually kinda really racist, and a little condescending), and then Rose comes to Chris’ defense. Or barring that, communes with him afterward.

Chris is more comfortable with Rose on his side, but he does confess at one point that “being around too many white people makes him nervous.” After a series of particularly strained party conversations, the audience can see why. But in reading the tone of the movie, we can also tell that there’s another handful of reasons why he should be nervous.

Too bad Chris couldn’t watch Get Out with us and pick up on these hot tips for surviving the weekend with your gf’s ‘rents.

Jordan Peele’s guide to spending the weekend with your white girlfriend’s parents:

  1. When you meet your girlfriend’s parents for the first time, meet in a neutral, public location. Their luxury home miles from any significant civilization is not that place.
  2. There’s 4G, like, everywhere now. Your biggest weakness isn’t cell service, it’s battery life. Take your charger, sure. But take a couple backup battery packs, too, in case your charger is sabotaged. If anyone asks, you can say they’re for your camera. White people love artists.
  3. Keep your phone camera flash on at all times. Don’t risk getting caught in Auto mode.
  4. Get a friend in the TSA. Barring that, put your Uber app front and center on your phone.
  5. Take the home tour. Nod politely at all your girl’s dad’s anti-racial comments. Make a mental note of which pieces of their decor would make good weapons. You know…if push comes to brain washing shove. Be creative.
  6. Get. Out. Seriously….

In actual seriousness, Get Out is that thing you rarely see in horror movies, much less in films from first-time directors: A well-balanced horror film with a truly frightening message.

The jump scares were few, and never patronizing like in the cheezeball horrors. The best friend sidekick was perfectly used to add just enough levity to keep the film from being too bleak too fast. And the characters were cast to be just real enough to hit a spine-tingling uncanny valley.

You know that dream you have every once in awhile when your life is kinda crazy and your subconscious can’t deal?—The one where you need to fight someone off, but you just can’t lift your arms. I’ve never felt that so viscerally while awake as I did watching Get Out. The Sunken Place is quickly moving up on my list of what Hell must be like.

Sarah G

What do you get when you cross a horror movie with a pile of books? She’s not always sure, but Sarah G is always there to find the connection. In the process, she has helped found a local nonprofit, started a satirical holiday, ticked off celebrities, and tried to purchase the lunar surface.

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