Don’t “Get Out” of the theater


Kate Karstens, Editor-in-Chief

I have never squirmed so much in my entire life. Ordinarily, I can comfort myself in horror movies because ghosts aren’t real, people don’t have chainsaws for hands, and there are no such things as demon sharks. The problem with watching a present-day slave auction scene is that I can’t say it is not and has never been real. I desperately wanted to leave the theater. And that’s why I stayed.

Director Jordan Peele has created a situation so horrifyingly possible in between splashes of comedy from the protagonist’s best friend, whose doomsday predictions of being turned into a sex slave while Chris visits his white girlfriend’s family in the suburbs actually come true, to some extent. It’s a bit odd to be laughing after you’ve just watched a variety of characters get massacred, and yet, Peele does so effortlessly.

The striking aspect of the slave-creating white family who plays host to Chris and his girlfriend, their daughter, is that they are outwardly liberal and would have voted for Obama a third term…sound like someone we know? Some place you know?

Of course, we all know what happens simply based upon the various trailers published and general talk in the cafeteria and alcoves. The most important parts of the movie aren’t necessarily the climax or resolution, but the subtle racist elements that build upon one another until you’re watching every single white character bid to own Chris. And while you may root alongside Chris in his silent resilience to the discrimination he faces throughout the weekend, as a majority white and enclosed community, it would be lying to say that we’ve never sat there while a classmate made a cloaked racist joke and we laughed, alongside everyone else.

Yes, the classical horror part of the movie is completed with suspense and gore, but that’s not what sticks with you as you walk out of the theater. You’re left thinking about how the real terror is simply black history in America and just how close we live to Duke Street, Alexandria, which housed countless slaves in holding pens until their auction. You’re left with a disgusting sense of dread, fearing that you are contributing to the legacy of America’s national shame, nearly 150 years later.