To celebrate the latest edition of the WriteMovies Horror Award, we’re looking back at some of our favorite films and TV shows in horror. Find out what scares us the most… and what we’re looking for from a horror script! Here are our thoughts on GET OUT…
This article contains spoilers.
It might have been Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, but GET OUT certainly didn’t feel like it. At turns funny, scary, and thoughtful, it balances a lot of different elements – seemingly without trying.
And as the winner of the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, here at WriteMovies we were big fans of the film. GET OUT has the kind of screenplay that really makes you sit up and pay attention: a unique concept, a clear genre and audience, engaging characters, and a thrilling story.
It also has depth. Dealing with topical themes of racism and cultural divide in the U.S., this is the kind of film that stays with you after you’ve finished watching it, demanding that you keep thinking about it.
The basic premise of GET OUT sees a young African-American man called Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) meeting the family of his white girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams) for the first time – only to find things aren’t quite what he’d expected.
What starts out as just an uncomfortable situation quickly starts to escalate. Racially insensitive comments give way to involuntary hypnosis, strange behaviour from the family’s African-American housekeepers, and a lot of creepy white people.
And if that weren’t enough reason for Chris to want to get out (ha, see what we did there?) it gets worse when he finds out that his girlfriend lured him there because of his race for… well, nefarious purposes. We won’t give away too much.
But if that’s not a red flag in a relationship, we don’t know what is.
GET OUT does a lot of things terrifically well, but it’s the script that really powers it. It weaves a story that makes you feel ill at ease right from the first moment, and before you know it you’ve ventured – along with poor Chris – further down the rabbit hole than you ever thought possible.
Chris is always an outsider, and it feels like he’s swimming in dangerous waters right from the start. There’s a constant sense of the uncanny in GET OUT, a horrible familiarity about the awkward conversation around the dinner table, the family party… and also a sense that it’s all just off. Something is clearly not right.
This extends to the people as well. Their behaviour feels artificial, a terrible truth hidden beneath their smiles and polite, insensitive comments. They are human but not quite human enough.
The film also clearly pays homage to other horror films. The African-Americans who have already fallen victim to the family have become zombie-like, their consciousness suspended in the dreadful space between life and death.
The Sunken Place, it’s called in GET OUT. In case you needed another horrifying image.
Let’s not forget those themes we mentioned earlier, either. The interracial tension is a big aspect of GET OUT, infusing every frame of the finished film and every page of the script.
Chris is made to always feel his ‘otherness’. No matter what he says or does, the color of his skin marks him out as nothing more than a commodity to the people of his girlfriend’s white community, a point driven home when he is literally auctioned off to the highest bidder.
It couldn’t be clearer that Peele is making comparisons to slavery. The ownership of African-Americans and the racism against them is shown to still be present in modern society, even if has taken on a different form.
There are some great lessons to be learned from GET OUT: put us on edge with a sense of ‘otherness’; come up with a unique concept; infuse your work with thematic depth that keeps us thinking.
And in the end, who knows? Jordan Peele won an Oscar for his writing. If you can come up with a great horror script, who’s to say you might not be next…?
Enjoyed our review of GET OUT? Click here to read our other reviews, including ALIEN, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE and THE WITCH – and don’t forget to submit your own horror script to the WriteMovies Horror Award – click here!