Tuesday, March 7, 2017

SOL 6: Is a Comedy-Horror Movie an Oxymoron?

            This afternoon we all went to see Jordon Peele’s (of Comedy Central’s Key & Peele show) first movie, Get Out. It’s billed as a comedy-horror film, which may sound like a contradiction in terms, but really does work.
            I am not a fan of horror films, but I have watched one or two just to see what it’s all about. I do love comedy, and while Get Out is not funny-haha, it has plenty of dark humor. The film takes all the necessary features of horror – the naïve protagonist confronted with open doors he can’t resist, characters who act strangely, characters who are not who they seem, scary walks outside at night, a cellphone mysteriously removed from its recharge cord, and plenty of gore at the end – with a twist that takes cultural appropriation a step beyond.
            Instead of the innocent young (always white) woman, we have an innocent young black man who is the central character, as Rosie, white, brings her new boyfriend, Chris, home to meet her liberal parents in their home in the woods. Rosie’s father is a neurosurgeon, her mother a psychiatrist who uses hypnotism. Hypnotism is the entry toward Chris’s lack of control.
            The opening scene is a classic horror scene, but also replicates the very real fear black men feel walking on a tree-shaded suburban street at night. As Chris becomes more unnerved in this strange house, he tries for reality checks by calling his friend Rod, a TSA agent, and Rod is more than a bystander. The underlying plot is wholly consistent, and weirdly believable. I can’t say more without spoilers, so I’ll leave you with a recommendation to see this movie, and an interview with Peele, the writer and director.
            Among the four of us, two really liked it, one somewhat liked it, and one was not sure. But we all found something to like and to talk about, and what more can you ask of a movie?
I'm posting this too late to meet the Two Writing Teachers' deadline, but I am committed to writing a slice every day, to keep up with the challenge. 

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