Jordan Peele opens his superb new horror film Get Out with the refrain of Childish Gambino’s “Redbone”: “Stay woke.”
It’s a straightforward message from the film to its protagonist, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a black man whose visit to his girlfriend’s parents’ house quickly turns into a nightmare of suburban racism. Unlike your average clueless horror protagonist, Chris is woke as hell to what’s happening to him.
Get Out ingeniously uses common horror tropes to reveal truths about how pernicious racism is in the world. It doesn’t walk back any of its condemnations by inserting a “white savior” or making overtures to pacifism and tolerance. No: In this film, white society is a conscious purveyor of evil, and Chris must remain alert to its benevolent racism. He has to in order to survive.