The Antagonists of GET OUT: An Analysis
Jordan Peele established a new name for himself in the world of cinema after releasing his iconic 2017 horror film Get Out. The film follows the story of Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a young black man who reveals a startling secret after meeting the family of his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams).
Although Kaluuya indeed killed the head protagonist role of Chris, the film’s true power comes from its eerily creepy antagonists from the mind of Jordan Peele. For those interested in developing a great antagonist for your own script endeavor, follow along as we discuss the antagonists of Get Out.
Still from 'Get Out'. Photo credit: Insider
The Importance Of Character Reveals
Similar to Jordan Peele’s 2019 work US, Get Out follows the same pattern of understanding the importance of character reveals. As great as it is to have an established villain from the start, there is another point to highlight of having a reveal tied to who the antagonist is. This premise is most commonly done in crime thrillers, but it can be done in horror as well as we see in Get Out.
Peele does a brilliant job in establishing the antagonists as being ordinary but with an odd eerie overtone cast over them. As an audience, we know something is up; we just can’t say for certain. But as the film develops, we see who these characters truly are, showcasing the film’s antagonists. Here are a few examples of how these antagonists revealed themselves:
Chris’s girlfriend Rose arguably has the most significant reveal since she appears to be on the side of Chris throughout the entire film. She’s on his side when her family acts odd, assures him they can leave early, etc. Instead, when her brother Jeremy and the rest of her family threaten Chris when he tries leaving, she reveals she was a part of the plan all along.
Rose’s father Dean has a significant reveal as the head surgeon behind the madness of the group responsible for the disappearance of so many people. Early on, Dean explains to Chris that he’s so progressive, he would have voted for Obama a third time if he could. Instead, Dean turns out to be a madman who kidnaps black people to have aging white people literally take over their bodies.
Rose’s mother Missy has an interesting dynamic in the film because it’s hinted at before the big reveal that she has some sort of psychosis capabilities. It was later shown that Missy is the person behind the sedation of their victims, rather than just being a hippy lady who is into healing a person’s soul.
Showcasing Evil Early On
Although the true nature of Rose’s family isn’t revealed right away, Peele chose a high-tension conflict scene to begin his film. Rather than go the alternate route of everything being okay until the family starts messing with Chris, Peele shows a man being followed and taken as a way to show everything isn’t okay.
This method is done to showcase evil early on to demonstrate what the antagonists are capable of. For example, in the Batman Universe, the Joker has an elaborate bank robbing scene at the beginning of the Dark Knight rises. Both show who the antagonist is while not giving away too much at the main plot.
Having An Unexpected Major Plot Twist
Although Peele does a fantastic job at demonstrating there’s something very severe going on in the world of Get Out, the plot reveal was still an unexpected plot twist. No one could’ve predicted that Dean was a surgeon who inserted the mind of aging white people to control the bodies of younger black people.
Going off of themes of racism and immortality, it’s a fascinating take that added a layer of creepiness to the story. Sleep paralysis, comas, and various neurological issues are the most common ways for a person to lose control of their bodies but for someone to actually insert another human to control your body is a whole other point of twistedness.
The Antagonists Vary From One Another
Peele’s writing ability is also extremely worthwhile with the antagonists and how they vary from one another. Not one antagonist is the same and varies with what they give to the plotline. Dean is the surgeon behind the procedures, Missy is the hippy who sedates their victims, Jeremy is the brute and violent one, and Rose is the manipulator. A perfect combination of popular antagonist-arches.
The Antagonists Don’t Necessarily Know Their Evil
Now, when you read the plot of Get Out, it may seem impossible to fathom those characters don’t fully understand they’re evil. After all, they just want to live as long as possible, and from their perspective, there’s nothing wrong with that (sarcasm). Still, Peele does an excellent job at showing the antagonists think what they’re doing is okay.