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Film / Get Out (2017)

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"All I know is sometimes if there's too many white people, I get nervous, you know?"

Get Out is a 2017 social thrillernote  film written and directed by Jordan Peele. It stars Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams, with Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root and Catherine Keener in supporting roles.

Chris Washington (Kaluuya) travels with his girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Williams), to the upstate New York estate of her parents, Missy (Catherine Keener) and Dean (Bradley Whitford), to meet them for the first time. Already anxious that her wealthy, white parents will not accept him, Chris notices certain oddities about the idyllic property... such as the unusually docile black household servants, and how the Armitages and their friends seem to take an oddly urgent shine to him.

When one of the family's friends seems to snap and tells Chris to get out, he stumbles onto a strange conspiracy, and finds that getting out is much harder than it seems…


If you're looking for the titular trope itself, look here.

This film contains the following tropes:

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  • Actually Not a Vampire: Out-of-universe example. The actors playing the extended Armitage family weren't told the movie's plot but were told to act like they were vampires and that Chris was someone they wanted to eat.
  • An Aesop:
    • Unsubtle as it is, the film does everything in its power to show how racism, be it institutionalized stereotypes or Condescending Compassion and Positive Discrimination, turns people into monsters and puts the subject of racism in danger. If it weren't as unsubtle as it is, the movie would not have had the same impact considering the then-current political climate and the already divisive nature of the subject itself. In other words, so-called "positive" discrimination—as well as systems and practices that lend privilege to certain groups at the expense of others (even if no racist sentiments are expressed)—is just as bad as overt and blatant discrimination.
    • Trust your instincts in a dangerous situation and listen to your good friends when they tell you it's sketchy. While Chris gets red flags, Rose keeps overriding his creep vibes by being apologetic and seemingly understanding of the situation. By the time he realizes he should leave, and that someone keeps unplugging his phone, it's too late: Missy has him hypnotized and Rose reveals she wasn't going to let her boyfriend leave. As Rod puts it at the end of the movie, "I told you not to go into the house."
    • Being a liberal doesn't make you any less guilty or capable of racism. In most works about the subject, it's portrayed as something associated with the right, but the film shows how liberals can easily use their apparent progressiveness as a shield for their own bigotry, which makes them more dangerous than if it was obvious.
    • People of a racial minority can be racist towards other minorities, as shown by Mr. Tanaka's racism against Chris.
  • All There in the Manual: During the DVD commentary, director Jordan Peele explained that he had created a large backstory for the Armitages' group of friends. They belong to an ancient secret society descended from the Knights Templar, who are associated with the Holy Grail in popular culture. For centuries, they had been trying to seek eternal life promised by the Holy Grail, and finally achieved it with the Coagula procedure. This also explains the significance of the knight's helmet Jeremy has in the opening scene where he abducts Andre.
  • Agonizing Stomach Wound: Walter could have killed Rose easily with a headshot. He aims for her stomach instead, intending to let her suffer before she dies. It's quite fitting.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Chris in the third act, when he finds himself trapped in a house with a psycho family. At the same time his friend Rod figures out the plot himself and rushes over. However, by the time he arrives, Chris has already taken out the entire Armitage family.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: After getting shot trying to kill Chris, Rose attempts this to fool Chris as an "act of redemption". It doesn't work.
    Rose: Chris, I'm so sorry. It's me. And I love you. I love you.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The ultimate fate of the original inhabitants of the Armitage family servants' bodies as well as Andre. Their consciousness is still in there, forced to see and hear everything that's happening while their bodies are being controlled by someone else, and they're in a sunken place/mental prison, and judging by their reactions while gaining temporary control, they're not happy about it.
    • This can fall into Jim's ultimate fate as well, since he is left to burn to death in the operation room of the Armitage household while still under sedation.
  • And Starring: Catherine Keener.
  • Animal Motifs: Deer. Rose and Chris hit one on their way to the house, there are deer statues all over the house, and Dean goes on an unusually aggressive spiel about how deer are invading the landscape and ought to be shot on sight. Later, Chris kills Dean with the taxidermied deer head, and Rose pursues him through the woods with a hunting rifle.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Walter gives Chris a remorseful look for trying to kill him while brainwashed, after Chris frees him. Then he turns the gun on himself, so Rose's grandfather can't take over again.
  • Arc Words:
    • From the trailer: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."
    • From the film itself, variations on "just like one of the family".
    • "Dead by the side of the road" comes up a lot — it's how Chris's mother dies, how the deer Chris and Rose hit with their car dies, what Dean says he thinks should happen to all deer, and how Chris leaves Rose at the end.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Current medical science doesn't include knowledge of how to transplant and reconnect neural tissue, so transferring sections of the brain (or the entire organ!) from one person to another simply isn't possible.
  • Auction of Evil: The first sign that things don't just seem sinister but actually are? The older guests go off with Dean to play Bingo. The Bingo cards all have Bingo already on one row, and are used to disguise the silent auction to determine who gets Chris's body.
  • Audience Surrogate: Word of God confirms that both Chris and Rodney are supposed to fill this role for black horror fans. Chris acts like a normal person would in this scenario without being an idiot, and Rodney asks questions and figures things out the way the audience is as the plot goes on (minus throwing "sex slave" into every theory).
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • When Rod is explaining his ludicrous theories to the police, as soon as he starts linking it to a number of disappeared persons, the police officer suddenly puts on a serious face and brings in two other (black) police officers, as if they've been investigating something similar already. Rod patiently re-explains to his new audience, and when he's done, all three officers burst into fits of laughter, with the original officer explaining to her colleagues that she brought them in specifically to listen to this lunatic.
    • At the very end of the film, as Chris is standing over the injured Rose, a police car pulls up. For a moment, it seems that it will be a white cop, who'll suspect Chris, arrest him, or even kill him. Rose smiles in anticipation — but it turns out to be Rod in his TSA car, having come to rescue Chris.
    • The premise itself: the trailers seem to imply mind control to the end of essentially bringing back chattel slavery, complete with auction and black victims of white villains, but it turns out that the ethnicity of the characters is more symbolic—the goal isn't slavery, but immortality.
  • Bait the Dog: Rose acts offended when the police officer asks for Chris's ID and refuses to let Chris hand it over, ostensibly because she thinks Chris is being harassed due to his race. Turns out the real reason for her obstinance is she didn't want any official documentation that she and Chris were together so close to her home.
  • Big Dumb Body: The Armitages target black people because they see them as physically gifted but mentally lacking, and thus perfect subjects for the Coagula procedure.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The ominous Swahili whispering that plays over the drive to the Armitage residence ("Sikiliza Kwa Wahenga" on the soundtrack) has some very good advice for Chris. In the words of composer Michael Abels:
    Abels: "I wrote some phrases these souls might say, and then read the Swahili translations aloud to see what music occurred to me. Out of that process I wrote a couple of demos, and Jordan chose one of them, "Minor Trouble – Sikiliza Kwa Wahenga," to be the main title for the film. The translation, allowing for some poetic license, is: 'Brother, listen to the elders. Run! Brother, listen to the truth. Run, run far away! Save yourself.'"
  • Bittersweet Ending: Chris fights and kills most of the Armitages while escaping the estate, is rescued by Rod while said estate is most likely burned to the ground, and Rose dies of her gunshot wound. However, Georgina and Walter (who were victims of the Armitages as much as Chris was) are dead (along with god knows how many other victims), and Chris is left bloodied, injured, betrayed by the one he thought loved him and most likely traumatized for life along with still having the trigger to go to the Sunken Place, Andre is still hypnotized and trapped in his own body, and the rest of the Order of the Coagula are still at large and go unpunished, though they cannot continue their experiments for now.
    • Peele says in the commentary for the alternate ending where Chris goes to jail that stopping the car to help Georgina let Chris get over the guilt of not helping his mother.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Necessarily subverted by the whole concept of the film. All of the victims are black, and don't exactly "die". In the final act where Chris is killing the Armitages, this is actually inverted. The family members still in white bodies, as well as their white friend Jim, are dispatched first, with only Georgina and Walter — to the extent that these characters even qualify as black people — dying only before Rose.
  • Black Is Bigger in Bed: One of the party guests asks Rose about this directly, much to Chris and Rose's shock and embarrassment. Turns out the guest was trying to decide whether Chris was worth bidding on.
  • Black Like Me: Subtly discussed by the Asian partygoer, who asks Chris whether he finds the black experience to be more advantageous or disadvantageous. The man is really trying to decide whether his life will be easier if he becomes black.
  • Blinding Camera Flash: Exaggerated. The camera flash has the power to help the people stuck in the Sunken Place regain control over their bodies.
  • Body Surf: Through a mix of brain surgery and hypnosis, the Armitages can essentially move the consciousness of one person to another while stifling the mind of the new body's original owner.
  • Bookends:
    • The main title theme that plays at both the beginning and ending of the movie.
    • Something is hit with a car while Chris is going to and coming from the Armitage house (a deer while Rose and Chris drive to the house, and Georgina while Chris escapes it).
  • Bourgeois Bohemian: A lot of the satire of the film comes from subverting this trope. The Armitages are an upper-class white family who go out of their way to state their liberal racial beliefs, including cheering on black celebrities such as Jesse Owens, Barack Obama, and Tiger Woods, which ultimately come across as oddly patronizing. Ultimately, it's revealed that they really do think black people are great. Physically. So great that they'll do anything to possess that physical greatness for themselves.
  • Brains and Brawn: Several members of the Order of the Coagula — including the founding Armitage family — make sly hints throughout that film that they think that black humans are inherently physically superior to whites... and ultimately reveal their idea of the utopian process is to bring what they see as their superior white brains into unity with the black body in order to create this trope. A disadvantage for the body's current inhabitant, unfortunately...
  • Brain Transplant: The Armitages capture black people to become the unwilling hosts of their friends and associates, who pay to have their brain tissue transplanted into their targets. Only a partial transplant is possible, however, due to the difficulty of operating on sensitive areas like the brainstem. Thus, Missy uses hypnotism to subjugate the minds of the "donors" before the operation takes place.
  • Call-Back: Chris's mother is killed in a hit-and-run when he was 11, and he later tells Rose that she bled out on the side of the road for hours. When Chris accidentally runs down Georgina, her unconscious body is reminiscent of how his mom likely looked. And when Rod finally rescues Chris, they leave Rose bleeding out on the side of the road.
  • The Cameo: Keegan-Michael Key shows up as one of the NCAA players that Rose plans on targeting.
  • Cassandra Truth: Rodney's concern for Chris is completely genuine. He goes to the police and describes in detail how he came to the conclusion that Rose's family is abducting and enslaving black people, the most recent being his friend Chris. The shot changes, and one police officer becomes three. Rodney retells his story with increased urgency, only for the three police officers, all Black people themselves, to burst out laughing.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: By the time Rodney arrives to look for his best friend, Chris has pretty much single-handedly decimated the Armitages' household with only Rose left. The most he does is just drive Chris out of there once all is said and done, leaving Rose to bleed out on the road.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The flash from Chris's cell phone camera causes the enslaved black people to temporarily regain control of their body. He uses this later to stop Walter from shooting him. The original owner of the body uses the brief moment of control to shoot Rose and himself instead.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • A Subverted Trope. Jeremy mentions early in the second act of being a fan of mixed martial arts and drunkenly attempts to put Chris in a chokehold. In the climax of the film, Jeremy attempts the move again on Chris in order to knock him out and prevent him from escaping the house. Chris is still able to break out of it.
    • Also averted in Chris's fight with Jeremy at the door. Chris's experience with judo is referenced during dinner, and he winds up in the perfect position for the stereotypical "shoulder throw", but takes another tactic.
    • Jeremy's jiu jitsu is subverted as well, or rather turned against him, in the final fight. He references learning through jiu jitsu how to use his brain and tactics to overpower a stronger opponent. Chris overpowers Jeremy this same way by noting Jeremy's automatic kicking the door shut when he attempts to open it, and taking advantage of his opponent being off-balance and stabbing him in the leg. This also calls back to Jeremy talking about "thinking three moves ahead" in martial other words, don't be predictable, which Jeremy was.
    • Rod boasts that TSA agents are highly trained as investigators, better even than professional police detectives. This proves to be true, as Rod finds the Armitages' home and comes to Chris's rescue.
    • More of a nervous habit than a skill: Chris claws the ends of the armchair arms when reliving his guilt over his mother's death, which then becomes a part of his hypnotic stress behavior. When he does this to the armchair in the basement, he scratches away the leather and rips open the cotton, which he then uses to plug his ears to avoid the next hypnotic spell.
    • You wouldn't think photography would be a skill that could be put to badass use, but you'd be wrong. Chris is an artistic photographer and knows his way around a camera, and uses it a few times at the party to note how odd everything is. Later, he tries to surreptitiously use his cell phone to capture a picture of Logan, to try and figure out what's off about him. The camera flash apparently undoes the procedure, at least temporarily, which becomes a Chekhov's Gun of its own at the climax.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: Chris' guilt over him leaving his mother and the deer at the start of the film for dead on the side of the road comes to a head when Georgina throws herself in front of Chris's car as he attempts to leave the Armitage house. Knowing his heart will veer towards this response, he pleads with himself to just keep driving, but brings Georgina into his car regardless. The cherry on top is that, thanks to Georgina having an intense Villainous Breakdown, the car doesn't get much further anyway.
  • Contrived Clumsiness: Implied to be how Chris's phone keeps getting unplugged in an attempt to invoke Cell Phones Are Useless. Later, Rose "misplacing" her car keys. Both are subversions, as both turn out to be deliberate sabotage by her.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The villains' evil plan would likely have succeeded had not, by pure chance, one of their victims turned out to be someone Chris and Rodney knew. Keep in mind there are eight million people in New York City.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: It is entirely possible that Rose targeted Chris not only for his photography skills, but also because he doesn't have any family that will start looking for him - he's never known his father, his mother is dead and he is not shown to have any siblings. Rose's parents even ask him about this when they meet, probably to confirm that nobody will come looking. In fact, the only one he has is Rod - who actually does come to his rescue at the end of the film, despite Rose's best efforts to deter him from pursuing the matter further when he calls her.
  • Convenient Photograph: An entire box of them, no less. Rose keeps the photographs of her previous victims, showing her kissing them and confirming her Honey Trap methods. Downplayed in that Chris finds this out too late for it to be much use to him.
  • Creepy Souvenir:
    • The box of photos of Rose with the Armitages' previous victims is confirmed by Word of God to belong to her; she keeps the photos as Serial Killer-style trophies.
    • Further supported by the scene where Rose is searching for her next target, with all these pictures framed and on display on the wall behind her!
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Rodney has bad vibes about Chris's visit from the get-go and suspects something off about Rose's family. Given his personality, however, he rambles about sex slavery and Jeffrey Dahmer. Horrifyingly, he's about 25% right on that, given what the Armitages are using their new healthy bodies for.
  • Cult: The Order of the Coagula, founded by Roman Armitage and now run by his descendants, whose elderly members aim to achieve immortality by transplanting their brains into younger bodies.
  • Dead Man Honking: Non-lethal version near the end. When Chris crashes the car against a tree, his head comes to rest on the wheel which activates the horn. It only stops when Chris comes to and lifts his head.
  • Death by Irony: When Chris and Rose tell the Armitages about the deer they hit, Dean says that they did a good thing, as he hates deers and believes they are ruining the ecosystem. Chris later stabs Dean through the throat with a mounted deer head.
    • And inverted with what saves Chris from the hypnotic effect in a movie with such explicit racial overtones - 'picking cotton' - out of a stuffed armchair, that is.
    • Jim Hudson dies while sedated on the operating table with his brain exposed as the Armitage house burns to the ground around him. He's powerless over his own body, much like the victims who were trapped in the Sunken Place.
  • Deconstructive Parody: The whole movie is a deconstruction of political correctness, positive discrimination and tokenism towards ethnicities. Chris receives awkward compliments from Rose's family as they kept commenting on his ethnicity by saying how he's physically superior to them due to his race and are more focused on his ethnicity than his actual personality. The auction scene is the best example of this; the attenders just want Chris's body and treat him like a slab of meat to be used and discarded without second thought - just like slave-owners.
  • Distant Finale: The alternate ending cuts to Rodney visiting Chris in prison six months after the climax of the film.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The silent auction disguised as an innocent game of Bingo has some pretty overt shared imagery with slave auctions and the slave trade: a small group of rich white people propping up a business where they forcibly abduct black people, so that other white people can use their bodies to do their work for them. The white people are inspecting Chris for valuable traits, similar to how slave-owners would inspect slaves at auction. The most blatant detail is how one of the women feels out Chris's muscles.
      • To go one further, the fact that the villains are specifically a cult who justify their misdeeds with faux-spiritual mumbo jumbo about "transcending death" calls to mind how slave-owners would commonly deflect criticism of their actions by cherry-picking quotes from The Bible that appear to advocate slavery, thus arguing that slavery is part of God's plan and therefore can't be bad.
    • The entire Grand Theft Me plot arc can be read as an extended metaphor of the colonialization of Africa, with white mentalities "overwriting" the physical spaces inhabited by black people. Also, white fear of black culture, which leads to the thought that black people should Stop Being Stereotypical.
    • Jim, the blind art critic, is the one auctioneer who actually has civil conversations with Chris as equals and is the only auctioneer not motivated to take Chris's body for racial reasons. He's literally a symbolism of those who espouse being colorblind to racism and, while not directly oppressing others, still take advantage of an oppressive system, using their "colorblindness" as justification.
    • The movie's central premise can also be compared to cultural appropriation. In Real Life, cultural appropriation occurs when culture A takes traits from culture B it finds appealing without giving it much thought as to how said cultural trait is important to culture B, and forsaking the rest of culture B as unimportant, especially when members of culture B are ridiculed for practicing their own culture. The movie takes it to to its most extreme conclusion, where rather than taking one trait, like music, art, or clothing, a scheme is hatched where an old white person's brain is transplanted into a young black person's body, forsaking the black person's life as unimportant in the process.
    • During Chris's Roaring Rampage of Revenge, we see Rose sitting in her room in all-white clothing, looking at top black NCAA prospects while drinking white milk through a black straw while eating a bowl of dry Froot Loops separately from the white milk. Word of God says that the "eating dry Fruit Loops separately from the white milk" part was unintentional, but everything else was very much not.
    • Dean's rant against deer after Rose and Chris mention hitting one with her car.
      Dean: You know what I say? I say, "One down, a couple hundred thousand to go."
      Missy: Dean!
      Rose: Dad!
      Dean: No, I don't mean to get on my high horse, but I'm telling ya — I do not like the deer. I'm sick of it, they're taking over. They're like rats. They're destroying the ecosystem. I see a dead deer on the side of the road, I tell myself, "That's a start."
    • This Cracked article points out the symbolism of the use of a cell phone camera to reveal the Armitages' plot. Specifically, the cell phone's camera flash briefly frees Andre from Logan's control and allows him to warn Chris to "get out." Author JM McNab postulates that this parallels the use of cell phone and body cameras to record footage of racist police officers committing crimes against and abusing black people; while the footage can't always do much on its own, it does help to shake people out of complacency and realize that some police departments and officers have racist tendencies.
    • The one Japanese man at the otherwise monochrome garden party/cult gathering; "Asians are naturally smart" is one of the go-to examples of Positive Discrimination, which is one of the things that the movie speaks against. To go one further, during silent bingo/auction for Chris's body, said Japanese man's bingo card is the only one with yellow dots on it.
  • The Dog Bites Back: With Chris's help, Walter's original identity reasserts itself. Walter then stands above the subdued Chris and asks Rose to "let me do it." She hands him the gun with no hesitation. Boom.
  • Double-Meaning Title: With the obvious interpretation being a Red Herring. You probably think at first that it means Rose's racist parents want Chris to stop dating their daughter and "get out" of their house and their lives. The truth is that something far, far worse is going on, and the warning is a genuine plea for him to run while he still can.
  • Dying as Yourself: After Chris uses a camera flash on Walter the groundskeeper, Walter regains control of his body long enough first to shoot Rose, and then to shoot himself, so he can at least die a free man and take Grandpa Armitage, who is possessing his body, down with him.

  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Thanks to the timely arrival of Rod and a carefully-crafted escape plan, Chris is able to get out after undergoing days of mental torture. Jordan Peele originally had a more downbeat ending in mind as a hint to audiences who thought that the election of Barack Obama meant racism was "over", but decided that in the racially polarized political atmosphere of the Donald Trump administration (especially following several high-profile shootings of black people by cops), the audience deserved a more satisfying ending.
  • Empty Cop Threat: The cop checking on the roadkill accident claims he has a right to check Chris's license. He actually was trying to figure out if Chris was one of the MIA victims.
  • Erotic Asphyxiation: Word of God states that Rose was grinning as Chris tried to choke her because it aroused her.
  • Everything Is Racist: Low-key Played for Drama — Chris starts to wonder which of the weekend's uncomfortable events are really all that weird (whether due to prejudice or something worse) and whether they're just manifestations of his own sensitivity and discomfort. Rose insists that her family are awkward and unhip, but not actually racist or even conservative. Rose is using this ambiguity to gaslight Chris into mistrusting his own intuition until it's too late.
  • Exact Words:
    • When Dean explains his black servants to Chris, he says they were hired to take care of his parents, and that when they died, he didn't want to get rid of them, because they felt like family.
    • Dean also tells Chris that the basement is closed off because of a "black mold" problem downstairs. Molding black people is literally what they're doing down there.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: For the first half of the movie, Rose sports loose wavy hair reaching down below the shoulders, and covers the sides of the face and forehead, as part of her loving person façade. After The Reveal, Rose pulls back her hair into a tight ponytail that exposes her entire face to demonstrate how cold, calculating, and manipulative she really is.
    • Goes along with an Evil Costume Switch, from cute, modern, feminine outfits to a severe, button-up white shirt.
  • Eye Scream: Missy is killed via a stab through the eye with a letter opener. The audience doesn't get to see it, though.
  • Facial Dialogue: Visible in key scenes with the creepy housekeeper and groundskeeper when the original inhabitants of the brain are fighting for control.
  • Failure-to-Save Murder: Chris blames himself for his mother's death, because he failed to call 911 when she didn't come home. Instead, he just watched TV, while his mother bled out from a hit and run.
  • False Reassurance: After Rose outs herself as evil and the family abducts Chris for the Coagula procedure, we see Rose lean over and tell him "You were one of my favorites".
  • A Fête Worse Than Death: Rose brings Chris back home to meet her family on the weekend of an "annual" get-together held at the house.
  • Fighting from the Inside:
    • When Chris confronts the housekeeper Georgina, her face and voice are superficially reassuring, but her mannerisms (and the tears in her eyes) suggest this trope.
    • Presumably also how Rose's shoebox of captured people who were the family's earlier victims got placed right where Chris would find it.
  • Finishing Stomp: After overpowering him in a fight, Chris kills Jeremy by repeatedly stomping his head.
  • Forced to Watch: In order for the Coagula procedure to work, Missy must place the victim in the Sunken Place via hypnotism. Once there, the host's trapped mind has no choice but to witness the parasite brain using his/her body to engage in any activity they want, including sexual intercourse, and interact with the parasite's own friends and family while the host has no choice but to either sit quietly in their own subconscious or try desperately to escape their mental prison in any way they can, or wait for a bright flash of light to shine onto their face, like a flash photograph, that enables them to break free, if only for just a moment.
  • Foreshadowing: Has its own page.
  • Former Friends Photo: In a manner of speaking. Chris finds a shoebox full of photographic evidence that not only was he not Rose's first black boyfriend — quite the opposite — but Rose's former partners include the same men and women her family then proceeded to enslave.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: A subtle one during the Bingo scene: The Japanese man is the only one given a Bingo card with yellow markers on it. Let that sink in for a minute.
  • Games of the Elderly: Dean Armitage hosts a bingo game in the estate's courtyard after the dinner party. Subverted, as the "bingo game" is actually an auction for who will have their brain transplanted into Chris.
  • Genre-Busting: The film has grown notorious for defying genre boxes. It's most principally categorized as a horror, but also incorporates elements of suspense, mystery, and thriller. Several aspects of the film, mainly its biting satire and Rod's status as a Plucky Comic Relief, have also led to use of the "horror comedy" label, and the film was very controversially made to compete as a comedy at the Golden Globes. Jordan Peele himself, however, has publicly stated that he went in attempting to create a horror film, but he sees the end result as a film that defies tidy genre-shoehorning. The official term Peele has opted for is "social thriller", and he has semi-jokingly described it at one point as a documentary.
  • Get Out!: Shouted by Andre at Chris, which doubles as a Title Drop. He's trying to save Chris from his And I Must Scream situation.
  • Gilligan Cut: After Georgina throws herself in front of Chris's car as he attempts to leave the Armitage house, the thought of leaving her for dead on the side of the road brings back guilt in Chris from allowing his mom and the deer at the start of the film to die in the same manner. He outright pleads with himself to keep on driving and not look back; one cut later, and he's bringing Georgina into his car.
  • A God Am I: The Coagula cultists consider themselves divine due to having unlocked the secret of immortality, with Dean gloating that he fully expects to outlive the sun.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Played with. Chris and Rod are both smokers, but after Missy's hypnosis, Chris can't bring himself to actually do so. Dean is a former smoker thanks to his wife's hypnotherapy. The Armitages don't want their targets to be smokers since it'd spoil their health and make them poorer "donors".
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • When Chris kills Missy at the end, it cuts away just before we would see her eye get stabbed.
    • A wall and various camera shots obscure Jeremy's head as Chris stomps it to a bloody pulp.
  • Gotta Have It, Gonna Steal It: How the white auction party views the black body, particularly when it comes to their desires for the stereotypical black physical stamina and black sexual prowess.
  • Grand Theft Me: What happens to every talented black person the Armitages get their hands on - their bodies and at least most of their minds are stolen as they're treated as vessels for white consciousness. Chris is the only one to ever get out of their clutches.
  • Greeting Gesture Confusion: Played for drama when Chris goes to fist-bump Logan and Logan shakes Chris's fist. It's just one of many signs that something is not quite right about Logan.
  • Gun Struggle: Subverted when Chris surprises Missy in her therapy room, they make eye contact, both look down on the teacup on the table between them, and then simultaneously dive for it... only for Chris to immediately backhand it off the table so that it shatters against the floor. Then immediately played straight when Missy grabs a letter opener and stabs Chris in the hand with it, they struggle for control, and eventually Chris ends it with an Eye Scream on Missy's behalf. Needless to say, it's not pretty.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Late in the film, Rose sits in her bedroom to relax and listen to music on her earbuds, and thus doesn't hear Chris fighting and killing her family as they attack him mid-escape. However, she does hear Chris hitting Georgina with his car and then goes to investigate.
  • Hell Is That Noise:
  • Honor Before Reason: Chris is driving away, but stops because Georgina the maid leapt in front of his car like the deer did and was lying on the side of the road. Due to Missy having dredged up his feelings about his mother, combined with the knowledge that Georgina was literally not herself and as much a victim as he nearly was, Chris stops to take her with him. When Georgina wakes, she's still the usurper and attacks, causing Chris to crash.
  • Hope Spot: Chris is finally terrified enough that he wants to leave the Armitage house immediately. Rose's assurances are no longer enough to calm him. When her parents ask why they're about to leave, Rose is the one who makes the excuse that Chris's dog is sick and they have to get him to the vet. But it turns out that Rose is not innocent; she's on board with the family's sick plans and has had the car keys she was "having trouble finding" all along.
    • Inverted at the climax. As Chris strangles a mortally wounded Rose in the middle of the road, a cop car pulls up. Considering how damning it would look from an outsider's perspective, it almost certainly means Chris is about to be killed by a trigger happy cop...but then we see that the cop car is a TSA vehicle and out of it steps Chris's friend Rod, ready to give him a ride home to freedom.
  • Hypno Fool: Missy uses hypnosis to control the victims. Discussed by Rod when he urges Chris to get away from the house.
    Rod: Look, they could've made you do all types of stupid shit. They'd have you fuckin' barking like a dog, flying around like you're a fuckin' pigeon, lookin' ridiculous, okay?
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: A variant and zigzagged; technically Chris is fine with murdering the Armitages in self-defense but he was going to leave Rose alone. In the climax, she's bleeding out from a gunshot wound. Chris puts his hands around her neck, but she smirks as he starts choking her. Chris takes his hands off her because he doesn't want to be someone that murders a defenseless person, even if she meant to do the same to him.
  • I'm Crying, but I Don't Know Why: Georgina starts shedding tears for no apparent reason while talking to Chris. In hindsight we know it was her host self Fighting from the Inside.
  • Immortality Immorality: The Order of the Coagula members want immortality, and they don't care whose brain they have to scoop out to get there.
  • Immortality Inducer: The Armitages' process involving kidnapping black people, having them go into "The Sunken Place" through hypnosis, consequently overwriting their consciousness, and through Dean's neurosurgery, allows the ageing residents of the town to inhabit the bodies of said kidnapped people.
  • Impaled Palm: Missy stabs Chris through the hand with a letter opener. He barely flinches and instead turns it on her, still in his hand.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Dean is killed when Chris impales him on the antlers of his taxidermied deer head.
  • Improvised Weapon: A cellphone camera flash, a letter opener, a bocce ball, a stuffed deer's head... Chris will do all he can to ensure the end of the Armitages and their atrocities.
  • Innocently Insensitive: The Armitages are a villainous example. They are undoubtedly racist, but instead of being ragingly bigoted Klansmen, they genuinely believe that they're making their victims into better people, and "celebrate" black culture and bodies in an almost fetishistic way.
  • Intimidating White Presence: The Black Chris attends a party of his (white) girlfriend Rose, which is entirely populated by white people (with Black servants). He describes to Andre who is actually the cult's victim that he gets nervous when there are too many white people around, and the combination of microaggressions and downright creepy behavior proves him right, leaving Rose the Token Good Teammate. And she's possibly the worst of the lot.
  • Irony: The Armitages and their buddies targeted black people for the Coagula procedure because of, as Roman put it, "the physical advantages [they have] enjoyed [their] entire [lifetimes]," with the old bastard even throwing in his personal belief that white people are naturally smarter. During the climax, Chris uses the physical capabilities that he was targeted for and the smarts the Armitages didn't think he had to slaughter them.
  • Ironic Hell: Word of God is that the Sunken Place is different for each hypnotized person because it's a construct of the mind. In Chris's case, the Sunken Place looks like him helplessly floating in space while reality is distantly visible from a television screen-like hole, reflecting his own feelings of helplessness when he watched TV as a child rather than trying to call for help for his wounded mother.
  • Ironically Disabled Artist: Chris meets Jim Hudson, a blind art dealer attending the family get-together of the Armitages. Hudson takes interest in Chris's photography skills and at first seems like one of the few amicable people Chris has encountered during his stay with his with the family. Cut forward to the climax and it's revealed that Hudson wants to transfer his brain into Chris's body to regain his sight.
  • I Warned You: Rod warns Chris not to visit Rose's family. After rescuing him, Rod cannot help but tell him, "I told you so!"
  • Jump Scare:
    • Both instances where something (a deer at the start of the film and Georgina at the end) gets hit with Chris's car, mainly since they suddenly interrupt dialogue that the scene was mainly focusing on. At the start, Rose is teasing Chris, and at the end, Chris is making a 911 call as he leaves the Armitage house.
    • Georgina provides multiple.
      • Two occur in the scene where Chris leaves his room in the late night to get some fresh air. As he leaves the house, we see Georgina quickly moving behind him with an accompanying Scare Chord. Later, after Walter runs past Chris, there's an abrupt cut to Georgina staring out the window at Chris with another Scare Chord.
      • When Chris tries getting a closer look at her in her room with his camera during the get-together, she snaps her head towards him.
  • Just Between You and Me: Chris is shown a video about Coagula, while Jim fills in the rest of the details, right before the brain transfer procedure.
  • Karma Houdini: The other members of the neighborhood get away scot-free with their involvement in the Armitage's schemes, though with the Armitages gone, they won't be able to continue their experiments anymore.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Rose finally pays for all of the black men (and women) she has lured to her family's home. It's also insinuated that Georgina is the one who left the box of pictures for Chris to find, which would mean the true person inside Georgina has finally gotten her revenge. Later, when Walter re-emerges, he shoots Rose before killing himself.
  • Karmic Death: Rose lured Chris into a trap and was willing to let him die after he trusted her. Quite fittingly, Walter after Chris frees him pretends to be Rose's grandfather and demands the rifle. He shoots her when she trusts him. Then Chris leaves Rose to die when Rod rescues him. Rose recognizes the irony and resigns herself to her fate.

  • Laser-Guided Karma: Rose participated in her family's evil schemes, totally buying into their Positive Discrimination and extreme racism. At the end, when she's lying injured with Chris standing over her and a car pulls up, she cries out for help, clearly playing on the stereotype of Chris, the black man, being her attacker — only for the driver to be revealed as Rod, who rescues Chris and leaves Rose behind to die. What's more, she's partly the reason he's there, since she aroused his suspicions by refusing to answer his questions and awkwardly flirting with him over the phone.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Armitage house and atmosphere is set in a bright white setting with light colors, luring people into a false sense of welcome and comfort. Also, the family's wardrobe is almost always decked in dark colors except near the end where the Armitage family show their true nature to Chris and they're sporting white clothing. Rose is also dressed in a bright white outfit when she's trying to kill Chris with a hunting rifle.
  • Made a Slave: Played with in a very interesting way. When Chris first arrives at the Armitage mansion, the first hints that something is wrong is Georgina and Walter, two African American servants, who took care of Dean's parents, until they died, but couldn't fire because they were like members of the family. After Rose tells Chris that her mother, Missy, is a professional hypnotist, and Rod keeps insisting that she will turn him into a Sex Slave, it seems like Missy took two kidnapped people, and brainwashed them into becoming docile servants. Considering that The Reveal states that feeble, old White people body-snatch young African-Americans to continue the lifestyle they miss, it's not too much of a stretch to conclude that they are in a way sex slaves, since the parasite minds use their new bodies to engage in sexual intercourse while the hosts' minds witness everything while trapped in the Sunken Place.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Chris is worried that Rose's parents won't approve of her dating a black guy like him. In the end, he finds out that she's done this plenty of times before.
  • Mask of Sanity: Rose, who makes it almost to the end of the movie before the mask slips.
  • Match Cut: As Missy is first hypnotizing Chris, a close-up shot of his hands anxiously scratching the arms of his armchair is used to mirror a similar shot of a young Chris doing the same on his chair (albeit more absent-mindedly).
  • Mind Control: Missy is rather… adamant about trying hypnosis on Chris.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: Exploited. The affluent rich white folks are able to get away with their scheme because very little media attention is given to the missing black people.
  • Mood Whiplash: To the hilt, due to the film's use of comedy to resolve (and sometimes ratchet up) tension:
    • In the Cold Open, the scene of a man apologizing into his cellphone for getting lost in the world's most confusingly-named suburb abruptly transitions into the same man being stalked by a car blaring a creepy tune and then getting violently abducted.
    • Cutting from Chris's breathless Roaring Rampage of Revenge to Rose in her bedroom killing time image-searching prospective targets and drinking a glass of milk through a comically prissy, phallic straw.
  • Mundane Solution: How do you temporarily undo brain surgery and get the victim to regain their former consciousness? Use a camera flash.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • When brainwashed Walter manages to tackle and injured Chris and pin him down, Chris uses the camera flash to free him from "Grandpa's" mind. Walter stares at him with a horrified expression, and removes his hands from Chris's eyes. Then he requests that Rose hand him the gun to shoot Chris, before turning it on her and himself.
    • Chris then has this reaction when a freed Walter shoots Rose, gives him an apologetic look, and then kills himself with a shot to the chin. He didn't want that to happen. No wonder Chris tries to strangle Rose in a grieving rage.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: A minor example. A scene in the trailer shows a deer skeleton jumping at Chris from the darkness, implying that the film will have supernatural elements (or at least that Chris will hallucinate heavily). However, this scene is nowhere in the film, though deer are an Arc Symbol.
    • It finally appears in a deleted scene, after Rose reveals her true colors and Chris is sent back to the Sunken Place by Missy.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: It wasn't very smart of Chris to pick up Georgina after he hit her, considering she's controlled by an Armitage. He would have brought her to civilization, and then she would have turned on him, told the police he killed her family, and who knows what else. Thanks to the fact that she woke up and attacked him, she got herself, the grandfather and Rose killed, thus ridding the world of all the Armitages and making sure Chris didn't get blamed for the crime (at least in the official ending)
  • Not Brainwashed: Notice in the film that a camera flash never affects Rose, even when she's in the range of fire. Despite the theories that she may have been hypnotized into doing her family's bidding, it's confirmed that she was in the plot all along For the Evulz, as shown when she hunts down Chris with a rifle.
  • Nothing Personal: Jim tries to claim that he's not racist, unlike the other bidders on Chris's body, and he likes the guy. But he's blind and needs Chris's eyes for his art gallery work. A bound Chris obviously doesn't appreciate this.
  • Not Quite Dead:
    • Jeremy looks like he's dead, lying unconscious with blood coming out of his head. But he comes back and almost stops Chris from leaving the house.
    • When Georgina throws herself in front of Chris's car as he leaves, he decides to stop and check on her, eventually putting her in the passenger seat. By the sign of her limp body post-hit and initially in the car, she seems dead, but Rose's grandma—who inhabits her—reanimates her body and attacks Chris.
    • Rose also falls in this category, as she's left bleeding out on the side of the road, but it's not entirely clear if she dies.
  • Nuclear Family: The Armitages are a rich WASP nuclear family, comprised of an awkward dad, a calm mom, a cool daughter, and an eccentric son. Played for Horror when their bourgeoisie normalcy is hiding something more sinister.
  • Obvious Villain, Secret Villain: It's clear from the beginning that Dean, Missy, and Jeremy are bad news, as a bunch of Affably Evil and Faux Affably Evil manipulators with a streak of Mad Doctor. But Rose is supposed to be the Token Good Teammate. Except that she is also the secret villain, both to Chris and the audience, who reveals herself only at the last moment when Chris finds her Evidence Dungeon.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: How did Rod find Chris? As he puts it, "I'm the T.S. motherfucking A." We never find out for certain but can only assume it was cool considering the police were no help.
  • Oh, Crap!: After Chris escapes from the downstairs holding room, he goes into the kitchen and sees Georgina going about her business. When she sees him, however, she stops dead in her tracks and tears out of the room.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The music playing during the surgical transplantation procedure is a Requiem, identifiable by the Latin Tuba mirum text.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: As the art dealer is explaining to Chris what will happen to him, we get a montage of flashbacks of the weird encounters with people at the Armitage party checking Chris out, and the housekeepers acting weird.
  • The Oner: The movie begins with Andre getting lost in suburbia and the camera following him around while a mysterious car stalks him from behind. It then cuts to him being mugged and kidnapped by Jeremy.
  • Orphaned Etymology: Walter, Georgina, and Logan use old-timey phrasing and seem to have no grasp of modern slang or black greetings. The reason for this is that they're all elderly white people occupying the younger black bodies and haven't bothered to learn current communication trends.
  • Plot Device: There was really no apparent need for Dean to have candles in his operating room in the basement, even more so when he already set up separate lights for Jim's and Chris's operating tables. That being said, the Order of Coagula is effectively a cult, so the candles may have some ritual significance to them.
  • Poetic Justice: Missy uses Chris's guilt about his mother's death by hit and run as an anchor for his hypnosis. In the end, he rescues Georgina to try to help the victim who helped him. He can't save her. And when Rose is the last one left, he decides to leave her to die on the side of the road, much as his mother did.
  • Police Are Useless: Justified; Rod goes to the cops to relay his suspicions about the Armitages and shows them a photo of a missing person. He then goes on about how a cult is brainwashing people into becoming sex slaves like Jeff Dahmer. Three cops laugh him out of their office.
  • Positive Discrimination: Not within the film itself, but built into the Armitage family's evil plan. They insist their organization targets black people not out of hostility, but out of admiration because black people are naturally better at sports, better in bed, more artistic, and so on, which, when you get down to it, is still extremely racist.
  • Pretend to Be Brainwashed:
    • This is how Chris is finally able to escape. He digs into the chair he's restrained to until the cotton leaks out, and then sticks the cotton into his ears. He then pretends he can still hear the "brainwashing teacup sound" from the video and pretends that it put him to sleep, so Jeremy will come and undo his restraints in order to take him to the surgery room. Chris then knocks out Jeremy and proceeds to fight his way out of the house.
    • Later, when Chris is being choked by "Walter," Chris use the flash on his phone to help him break free of Roman Armitage's brain. When Rose comes to shoot Chris with the hunting rifle, "Walter" tells her "let me do it," she hands him the rifle, and he shoots her. As Roman Armitage fights to regain control, "Walter" shoots himself in the head.
  • Product Placement: Every phone and computer in the film is a Microsoft product.
  • Profiling: Chris is visibly uncomfortable around the police officer, who asks for his ID even though he wasn't driving.
  • Primal Fear: More like Ancestral Fear, as the main theme song of the movie subtly implies. The Armitages and their friends wish to take and use the bodies of black people for their own use as they consider them physically superior, a roundabout reflection of slavery. The chanting of the official theme sounds very similar to African chanting, which even translates roughly to "Listen to the spirits of your ancestors, run".
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Andre has one when he struggles to break free of his Mind Control. Walter also has one when he regains control in the climax.
  • Race Fetish: Deconstructed. The Armitage family and their wealthy friends target black people for their Grand Theft Me schemes because they believe that they're better than white people at various activities — one of which includes sex. This only serves to highlight the insanity and racism the community holds. Rose is heavily implied to have one, though.
  • Recycled Trailer Music: The song heard in the first thirty seconds of the movie's official trailer is "Ghosts of Things to Come" from the soundtrack to Requiem for a Dream.
  • Recycled with a Gimmick: The Stepford Wives with black people (generally, but not always, men) rather than white women.
  • Red Herring: We're initially led to believe that Georgina and Walter's out-of-touch Stepford Smiler behavior is due to them being hypnotized into subservience by Missy, but it's actually because they're hosting the brains of Dean's deceased parents.
  • The Reveal: Rose and her family are cultists who transplant the brains of white people into African-American bodies. In order for the "Coagula procedure" to work, the hosts must be conscious on some level; Missy traps them in the hypnotic "Sunken Place", where they can do nothing but watch their bodies be used by the new owner.
  • Revised Ending:
    • There was an alternate ending where the police arrest Chris at the end instead of Rodney getting his Big Damn Heroes moment, and it cuts to six months later with Rodney visiting Chris in prison.
    • There were a few alternate versions of the used ending where Rod makes different jokes in the car.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Rodney quickly realizes that Chris is in trouble... but thinks he's wandered into a sex cult. Subverted; at least one bidder wanted Chris to please his wife so Rod wasn't completely off.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • It at first seems that the cop who asks Chris for his ID is being racist, as Rose repeatedly points out that she was the one driving and hit the deer. We learn a large number of black folks went missing in the area, so the cop was trying to figure out if Chris was one of the MIA victims.
    • The Armitages and the party guests' interactions with Chris are a lot more sinister once you know what they plan to do with him.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: At the climax, Chris feigns being asleep in order to get the Armitages to drop their guard, then takes the opportunity to escape. But not before seeking out every member of the family in order to dole out their well-deserved deaths in a calm yet merciless fashion.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • Plenty, during Chris's escape from the house. First, he resists hypnosis by literally picking cotton — in this case, out of the armchair he was seated in — so that he could stuff it into his ears. He knocks out Jeremy with a bocce ball (bocce being a stereotypically upper-class sport), and kills Dean by ramming him with the antlers of a mounted male deer head, i.e. a buck (an old-timey slur for a black man).
    • All the party guests/ cultists arrive at the party in black cars. It could be seen as white minds controlling black bodies.
  • Rule of Three: While struggling to escape from Jeremy's headlock, Chris tries opening the door twice, but Jeremy kicks it shut. The third time is a feint so Chris can get Jeremy to expose his leg and stab it.

  • Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: Chris finds himself in a basement of a house that is too far away for any neighbor to hear him screaming.
  • Secret Society Group Picture: The Armitage family photo after Dean's father officially establishes the Order of the Coagula.
  • Sex Slave: A Running Gag being that this is primarily what Rod is theorizing happened to the disappeared black people. He's sort of right on that end.
  • Sharing a Body: Of a necessity due to the Coagula procedure. The process doesn't work properly if the victim's brain stem is detached, so their consciousness is trapped in the Sunken Place while the new owner's consciousness is placed in near complete control of the body, unaware that a flash of light or significantly strong will can temporarily restore the rightful owner control of their own body.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The setup of Rose's parents not knowing her boyfriend is black is reminiscent of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.
    • The trailer's Arc Words ("A mind is a terrible thing to waste") are the slogan for the United Negro College Fund, an organization which provides college scholarships for African-Americans and other minorities.
    • The film's sinister goings-on within a seemingly polite setting (as well as its social commentary) are reminiscent of The Stepford Wives and even Rosemary's Baby (Chris is even a photographer like the protagonist in The Stepford Wives). Jordan Peele has stated the film is inspired, at least in part, by Night of the Living Dead (1968).
    • The ending is a subversion of Othello's ending in which the Ambiguously Brown protagonist strangles his white wife to death after being tricked into thinking she has betrayed him. In this case, the black protagonist has been truly betrayed by his white girlfriend and begins to strangle her, but cannot go through with it.
    • During the scene where Rod is trying to call Chris while at the airport, an announcement is heard for "Flight 237", confirmed by Peele to be a subtle nod to the famous room from The Shining.
    • Jeremy playing the ukulele on the front porch is a pretty clear one to Deliverance.
    • One of the party guests asks Rose if a certain stereotype about black men is true. In this case, the reference is more in the delivery as opposed to the line itself.
    • Chris's idea of the Sunken Place is very similar to the black void room from Under the Skin.
    • The plot twist is pretty much the opposite of the one in The Skeleton Key where two black people swap bodies with younger white people by means of a hoodoo ritual, in order to extend their lives. Possibly referenced, or mocked, when Rod says that "magic doesn't exist".
    • The plot of having "outwardly normal" people who are secretly hollow husks under someone else's control is not new, and it was done to an Armitage in Neuromancer by William Gibson.
    • Rod warns Chris that he is "in some Eyes Wide Shut situation".
    • The last name "Armitage" is an homage to the 20th-century horror writer H.P. Lovecraft: It's the last name of a protagonist in Lovecraft's story The Dunwich Horror. Though the Armitage family is villainous in this movie, the use of the name reflects this movie's homage to elements in Lovecraft's stories: decadent New England families with ties to the occult or secret societies, transmigration of souls from one body to another, altered states of reality, and so on. Lovecraft was also notoriously racist against black people.
    • According to the commentary, the look of the Armitages' operating room was inspired by the works of David Cronenberg.
    • Peele's decision to keep Rose's involvement in her family's deeds a secret was explicitly inspired by The Usual Suspects.
      "If you could pull some Keyser Söze shit, why would you not pull some Keyser Söze shit?"
  • Showing Off the New Body:
    • Chris glimpses Georgina admiring her reflection in a windowpane and adjusting her appearance in front of a bedroom mirror. After The Reveal, it's clear this is more than ordinary vanity, it's Grandma Armitage making sure that her wig covers the surgery scars.
    • At the party, after he leaves Chris, you see "Logan King" going to have a talk with the other partygoers and his companion appearing to show him off to her friends like a trophy, earning a look of distaste from Chris. When you watch the scene again knowing what was actually going on, it was clear that this was Logan King showing off his new body which he hijacked from Andre Hayworth to the bidders.
    • What in one glance is bizarre late night exercise is instead revealed to be the Armitage family patriarch's way of reveling in speed.
  • Silence Is Golden: The Sunken Place is devoid of sound. When we see Chris in there, select shots show him visibly screaming and crying out in defiance, but we hear nothing.
  • Stealth Pun: The image of Rose eating Froot Loops and milk separately can be seen as a metaphor for never mixing nonwhite and white things. Also, "Froot Loops" is slang for a crazy person.
  • Stealth Sequel: Peele confirmed the fan theory that it's a sequel to Being John Malkovich and that Catherine Keener plays the same character in both movies.
  • Stepford Smiler: The few black people in Rose's parents' community. The missing man acts a bit like this before snapping out of it and warning Chris to leave, implying he was under Mind Control. Peele himself has drawn comparisons to The Stepford Wives.
  • Stepford Suburbia: A seemingly-idyllic suburb… with a history of black men vanishing without a trace.
  • The Stoic: Rose, once she drops her friendly facade. Judging by select scenes, especially the one where she's talking on the phone to Rod and we see what sounds like genuine emotion coming out of her completely lifeless face, the effect is haunting.
  • Suburban Gothic: In the opening scene, Andre says that he feels deeply uncomfortable in the suburbs, where everything looks identical and he can't figure out how to get home. He's then kidnapped off the white-picketed fenced lawns, which is also where Chris and Rose go for their supposedly peaceful vacation. Only for Chris to learn that Rose and her family kidnap, brainwash, and torture black people as part of a cult.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Technically, Rod ends up being correct that the Armitages are a cult. He goes to the cops, shows a picture of Logan and tries to report he went missing. The cop is skeptical, because Logan doesn't "look" missing and seems happy. Rod then goes on with his theory about a Sex Slave cult and his best friend being trapped in it, and the cop seems to take it seriously. It turns out she wanted her coworkers to hear a ridiculous story, and they laugh Rod out of their office. You need more proof than a wild theory and a photo to report a potential crime.
    • It at first seems that Chris is a Cornered Rattlesnake and has taken down all the Armitages except Rose. This is awesome. Then Georgina makes him crash and he barely survives with a bad limp. When Rose tells a brainwashed Walter to get him, Chris is swiftly tackled, which is not so awesome but realistic.
  • Tagline:
    • "Just because you're invited, doesn't mean you're welcome."
    • "Do you belong in this neighborhood?"
  • Taunting the Unconscious: Chris is subjected to a hypnotic trigger that causes him to fall into a trance. As he collapses on the ground, his fleeting consciousness is represented by him plummeting into a black void, and the last thing he hears before being swallowed by the darkness is Rose teasingly calling him one of her favourite victims.
  • Things Are More Effective in Hollywood: In real life, Chris would have been able to snap himself out of Missy's hypnosis whenever he felt like it.
  • Taxidermy Is Creepy: The house has a few stuffed deer trophies in it, including a prominent one in the room where Chris is being "processed." It plays in to how the motif the film builds of comparing the cult's victims to deer.
  • Tears of Fear: Arguably the most iconic image in the film, featured prominently in the film's marketing, is a slack-jawed, furrow-browed Chris frozen in a deep terror with red eyes watering. The moment it factors into the actual film is when Missy hypnotizes him and sends him to the Sunken Place for the first time.
  • The Teaser: The opening scene showing Andre getting abducted.
  • That Was Not a Dream: Chris's "dream" where Missy hypnotizes him.
  • Title Drop: One of the more chilling examples in recent memory.
    Andre: Get out! Get out! GET OUT!
  • Token Minority: There is one Asian partygoer, while the rest of the attendees are white. This may have been to mimic the actual demographics of Asians in America. It could also double as a reference to the one Asian member (also Japanese) of the Satanic cult in Rosemary's Baby.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Rose only smiles evilly when Chris tries strangling her; the script specifies that she's fully enjoying it.
  • The Tragic Rose: Rather, the Rose who brings tragedy to her supposed romantic partners. Rose seems nice enough, Endearingly Dorky, self-righteous and Innocently Insensitive to how her family is subtly racist to her boyfriend. Then we learn she's part of a serial killing cult that lures in black men and women for involuntary operations, torture, and murder in all but name. With that said, the tragedy falls on her when Chris kills her family and burns down their house, while a freed Walter shoots her in the stomach and Rod leaves her to bleed out on the road.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The film's main trailer has been criticized for revealing or strongly hinting towards a lot of the film's most crucial plot points.
  • Trigger Phrase: Missy has several, but one she records on video and plays at will is three taps of her spoon against her china teacup. It immediately drops the previously hypnotized victim into unconsciousness.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • During his fight with Chris, Jeremy is unhinged and furious after the death of his parents.
      Jeremy: You fuck! You fuck!
    • Rose's grandmother, in Georgina's body, completely loses it on Chris after his Roaring Rampage of Revenge ends in the Coagula procedure being terminated and the Armitage house burning down.
      Georgina: You ruined MY HOUSE!
  • Voice of the Legion: When Missy hypnotizes Chris for the first time, she suddenly tells him to "sink into the floor". Chris tries protesting, but Missy reiterates her command of "Sink", which repeats multiple times in a much eerier deeper tone.
  • Voices Are Not Mental: The Armitage grandparents take on the voices of their hosts, though they still use their old-timey slang and vocal mannerisms.
  • Weakened by the Light: Chris's camera flash can allow the people who are possessed to briefly regain control of their bodies.
  • Weaponized Camera: Once Chris figures out the effect of a camera flash on the Armitages' hypnotize and lobotomized hosts, he uses it against the family.
  • Wham Line:
  • Wham Shot:
    • The camera slowly pans out on the bingo scene to reveal that the partygoers are actually bidding over Chris. An additional Wham comes when it's shown that the winner of the bid is Jim Hudson, the only partygoer who treated Chris with any respect.
    • Chris accidentally stumbling across a bunch of pictures of Rose with what turns out to be past victims — which quickly casts some major doubt on Rose's innocence.
    • When Chris and Rose attempt to leave the house early with the excuse that Chris's dog Sid has fallen violently ill, Rose has trouble finding their keys. As the two run into the rest of the Armitages, Rose still can't find them, which makes Chris more and more uneasy until he's screaming at her for them. At this point, Rose immediately drops her panicked face and nonchalantly holds up the keys, revealing both that she was deliberately stalling and that she's in on her family's scheme. She follows this with the first entry under Wham Line above, ensuring that Chris is not getting out of the house for the time being.
    • A door opening takes the expectation of a police officer seeing a black man standing over a white woman pleading for help and causing Chris to fall victim to a much more grounded-in-reality act of racial bias and turns it into a moment of sheer joy when the word "Airport" comes into view.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • What becomes of Andre? May double as Fridge Horror.
    • All six Armitages and Jim are killed, but the fate of the numerous other cult members is unrevealed, though they are at the very least now without their means of achieving immortality.
  • Where da White Women At?: Chris's girlfriend is white, and his race proves to be something her family doesn't approve of. Rather than overt hostility, however, their discomfort escalates from warm well-meaning awkwardness and name-dropping black celebrities, to casually racist comments about Chris's "genetic makeup" predisposing him to certain sports, to mind control, torture, and attempted murder.
  • The Whitest Black Guy:
    • Played for Drama; Andre's dress and mannerisms (such as giving Chris a handshake when Chris goes for a fist-bump) are the first hint something's not quite right with him, and that's before he starts screaming at Chris to get out.
    • The dialogue between Chris and Rod, as opposed to the other characters of color, utilizes a concept known as "code switching". Chris and Rod have a more natural, casual dialogue as would be expected of two black characters. The others, however, speak in the precisely enunciated tones of WASPs.

"A mind is a terrible thing to waste. A mind is a terrible thing to waste…"

Alternative Title(s): Get Out