Even if you hate scary movies.
By Meghan McKenna
Date March 3, 2017
For the record: I’m a total scary movie wimp. This summer, I left a theatre midway through The Conjuring 2 and relocated to a 3-D viewing of Finding Dory next door. Why should I pay $15 to close my eyes, cover my ears, and whisper “it’s just a movie” over and over under my breath? I’d far prefer to sit alone through a blurry animated Pixar film, thank you.
But as a believer in all things hyped and a devotee of Rotten Tomatoes, I desperately wanted to dip my toes in Jordan Peele’s highly anticipated horror film, Get Out. “It’s more like a psychological thriller,” my friends all said. “It’s like a feature length Black Mirror episode.” I was suspect of their reviews (they had also said The Conjuring was for kids), but with a 99% rating from critics, mass box office success, and a comparison to my favourite British sci-fi series, I was sold. If things didn’t work out, a screening of The Lego Batman Movie would be close by.
Get Out—which BTW is Peele’s directorial debut—is where Stepford Wives meets Dear White People meets Meet the Parents: a white woman (Allison Williams) takes her black boyfriend (Daniel Kaluuya) home to meet her wealthy white parents (Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford). But it’s cool, because they’re self-identified liberal whites, who voted for Obama twice and like, loooove Tiger Woods. I won’t give anything else away, except that I won’t be playing around with hypnosis anytime soon.
I will, however, tell you what I loved about the film. I loved that Get Out wasn’t trying to just scare me. Sure it made me jump, but it also made me laugh—and most importantly it made me think. Peele has something specific he’s trying to say about modern race relations, and uses the genre of horror to help viewers understand how scary it is to be black in America.
I also loved—to my surprise—the in-theatre experience of the film. I haven’t seen audience enthusiasm like this since Robert Pattinson tore his shirt off in Twilight. Throughout the movie, the crowd hooted and hollered at the screen, cheering on the protagonist and booing the villains. Not only did the viewer engagement ease the scares, it made you feel part of something bigger. Half the fun of the film is feeding off the energy of others.
This experience, perhaps, is part of the point. Peele describes his satire as this: “The best and scariest monsters in the world are human beings and what we are capable of especially when we get together.” If the “KILL HIM!!!” attitude of Get Out‘s audience is any indication, he’s right.
The comedian-turned-filmmaker has more in store for his horror hungry viewers. In an interview with Business Insider, Peele revealed that Get Out is only the first in a collection of movies he has planned that address what he calls “social demons.”
This crowd-pleasing, social thriller genre is something I can get on board with. I’ll be keeping my eyes Peeled for what’s next.