If you’ve been living under a rock for all of 2017, you might have missed how amazing, controversial, and successful Jordan Peele’s Get Out is. The film, which recently dropped to a 99% from a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, is a horror film in which the antagonist is not another person or “monster” but a concert. Racism. The rest of the blog does contain spoilers so proceed with caution. Like racism, some of the messages in the film are not explicitly laid out for its viewers to pick up on. Here are some of the subliminal messages you may have missed. I’ll be discussing five topics/themed that were displayed throughout the film: the “Black Buck”, African Americans and Law Enforcement, Separation, Slavery, and Conforming to Society…
The “Black Buck” was a term used to stereotypically describe African American men as big, strong, and savage. It also sheds light on how the black body is oversexualized. On the way to their weekend trip to visit Rose’s parents, Rose and Chris hit a deer. When the pull over to check things out, Rose stays by the car and Chris goes to check on the wounded animal. Here, we are able to see Chris’s sympathy for the deer, or black men, as he sheds a few tears. Once they arrive at the Armitage’s home, we learn that Dean Armitage, Rose’s father, has a hate for deer. Fast forward to the big party, we see some of the Caucasian guests admire Chris’s physique.
In recent years, we have seen the #BlackLivesMatter movement emerge and how prevalent police brutality is via cell phone camera footage. Back to the party where Chris is one of two Black men there. Chris recognizes the other Black man and decides to sneak a picture to send to a friend, Ron. FAIL. Chris’s flash going off is seen as a representation of the injustices that have been caught using cell phones. At the end of the film, when Chris has nearly escaped, flashing lights approach and Chris raises his hands in surrender even though he is the victim. This shines light on the shooting of Michael Brown, Jr. in Ferguson, MO August 2014. After the shooting took place, “Hands up, don’t shoot” was chanted around the nation as Black Lives Matter protested.
Although this is a small catch, we see Rose eating her cereal dry then washing it down with a glass of milk, ironically, as she is Googling NCAA players. She has separated Whites from Coloreds. A post-slavery tactic to keep freed, Black slaves oppressed. During the party, Dean leads a game of “bingo”. This game of bingo is actually an auction where Chris’s body goes to the highest bidder, as in a slave auction. Later in the film, while Dean and Jeremy are preparing for Chris’s surgery, Chris is seated in a leather chair that is stuffed with cotton. We see him clawing, or picking, the cotton while under Missy Armitage’s hypnosis. Which brings us to the last theme, the sunken place. This is where Chris’s mind goes when he hears the clink of the spoon against the china mug. It, and the entire operation the Armitages are running, is symbolized as Blacks conforming to what White America sees as appropriate behavior, language, etc.
Of course, being that the film is still being shown in theaters, we do not own a copy at Media Services. In the meantime, stop by and check out some of the horror films we do have in our browsing collection like Teeth, Dawn of the Dead, and Amityville Horror. Check back with us when the film is released on DVD.