31 Days of Wicked Watching [DAY 23]: There’s No Place Like Home

I cannot speak any more highly of today’s film (or the film that subsequently followed from this writer-director). If you haven’t seen “Get Out,” or “Us,” then you have to put down whatever you planned to do today and get to watching both. Today’s focus, however, is on Jordan Peele’s psychological thriller “Get Out.”

As the movie poster visually implies, Peele’s work is an intricate and stunningly stinging critique of race relations in the United States. He very much so claims that our homes are not free of institutionalized racism, and they certainly carry skeletons that we may not even know are in our closets. Peele’s partnership with horror powerhouse Blumhouse was an initial sign that this movie was destined to be a classic.

While modern in its approach, and certainly lacking in blood and guts and ghosts, the horrific here is everyday life. Yes, Peele’s film is much deeper and more severely complex than that statement; however, writing too much about Peele’s film will reveal the secrets that lie beneath a shared cup of tea.

What will stick out are the visuals. The use of lighting, and whites and blacks, is innovative and reflexive. The color decisions reflect deliberate choices to expose feelings and sentiments that provide a deep dive into our inner psyche. What isn’t on the surface is the intricate and haunting script that Peele penned himself. He gravitated toward social criticism, but embedded it in tropes of horror. This method isn’t uncommon in the genre, but it is uncommon as to how complex the narrative weaves between black and white compared to its horror compadres.

And when you finish feeling as though you didn’t know what hit you, what you just watched and what story just emerged, watch Peele’s next film: “Us.”

Published by Patrick R. Johnson

Patrick is a Ph.D. student and graduate instructor in the SJMC. He comes from nearly a decade of teaching high school journalism and English, and an adjunct professor of journalism and media studies at Marquette University (where he received both his bachelor's and master's degrees). He is a former Dow Jones Distinguished National Journalism Teacher of the Year. His research interests include the intersection of news literacy, journalism ethics, journalism studies, and professional boundary work. He also focuses his attention on issues of deviance within the media industry, particularly as it relates to issues of sex and issues resulting in paradigm repair. Patrick is also deeply passionate about teaching and the role of journalism schools in the professionalization of their students. He focuses a lot of his thinking on mass communication and journalism pedagogy and identifying ways for journalism courses to be both rewarding in content and enriching in skill. He currently teaches Journalistic Reporting and Writing in the SJMC and taught a number of courses at Marquette, including Media Ethics, Visual Communication, Magazine Design and Production, Digital Journalism 1-3, Strategic Communication Writing, and the Journalism Capstone course for the department. His work in curriculum, instruction, and educational leadership includes serving as the Journalism Education Association’s Mentor Program Chair, designing curriculum to accompany Pulitzer Prize winning content for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, reviewing the Praxis national journalism certification exam, and developing a number of courses at the high school and collegiate levels. Patrick served as a 2021 Public Humanities Intern through the Obermann Center where he worked specifically with University Special Collections to develop public-facing exhibits and curriculum materials related to the Tom Brokaw Collection.

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