After a long and celebrated career in comedy, Jordan Peele finally made his directorial debut in 2017 with Get Out which changed the trajectory of his career forever. With more films like Us under his belt, Peele is steadily establishing himself as the most prominent horror filmmaker of the modern era whose creative vision is uniquely confrontational.
To date, his debut work remains the finest project he has ever made and was even selected by us as one of the greatest horror films of the 21st century. It is a politically charged social commentary disguised as a horror film, told through the story of a Black man who finds himself in dangerous territory when he goes to visit his white girlfriend’s parents.
“I was making the movie in that period when Trayvon [Martin] was [killed],” Peele explained. “What originally started as a movie to combat the lie that America had become post-racial became a movie where the cat is out of bag, and now we’re having this conversation. I realised I had to shift it a little bit. It became less about trying to create wokeness and more about trying to offer us a hero out of this turmoil, to offer escape and joy.”
The director wanted to explore the dynamics of race through a volatile medium such as horror film: “As a black man, sometimes you can’t tell if what you’re seeing has underlying bigotry, or it’s a normal conversation and you’re being paranoid. That dynamic in itself is unsettling. I admit sometimes I see race and racism when it’s not there. It’s very disorienting to be aware of certain dynamics.”
According to Peele, Get Out feels so realistic and surreal at the same time because it blends the elements of comedy and horror that we are familiar with into something new. Peele said: “The best comedy and horror feel like they take place in reality. You have a rule or two you are bending or heightening, but the world around it is real. I felt like everything I learned in comedy I could apply to this movie.”
Recently, Get Out was voted as the greatest screenplay of the 21st century by the Writers Guild of America who compiled a list of 101 contenders for the title. Edging out other surreal masterpieces such as Charlie Kaufman’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and political thrillers such as Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network, Peele’s script snatched the title.
Aaron Mendelsohn, chair of WGAW’s Publicity & Marketing Committee, said: “As voted upon by the members of the Writers Guilds West and East, the list of the 101 Greatest Screenplays of the 21st Century (so far) is both a celebration of the great writers and screenplays of the last 21 years and a study of how writing for the screen has evolved and diversified since the 20th Century. Plus, it’s a great conversation — and argument — starter.”
Watch the trailer for Get Out below.