This post contains spoilers about the ending of Get Out. If you haven’t seen it yet, then get out.
Jordan Peele almost gave Get Out, his excellent blockbuster directorial debut, an unbearably dark ending. The horror movie about a black man named Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) going to visit his white girlfriend’s in-laws takes a devastating turn when he realizes his girlfriend’s family is not just hyper-racist—they’re progenitors of a cultish group that lures black men to their neighborhood so that their white neighbors can take control of their minds. In the end, Chris manages to escape after slaughtering the family and getting rescued by his cousin (hilariously played by LilRel Howery). However, that joyous ending almost took an impossibly bleak turn.
Peele actually wrote several endings, he recently divulged on the BuzzFeed podcast Another Round. And one he filmed showed Chris getting confronted by the cops.
“He gets locked up and taken away for slaughtering an entire family of white people, and you know he’s never getting out, if he doesn’t get shot there on the spot,” Peele explained. It’s a concept he’s executed to devastating effect before, particularly in Key and Peele sketches like the incisive “Negrotown.”
The power of the ending Peele eventually chose for the film hinges on the fact that once viewers see cop-car lights, they immediately know what will probably happen to Chris. The prevalence of police brutality toward unarmed black people is an unspoken terror that hangs in the air in those final moments—before Rod steps out of the car and crushes the tension. “The ending needed to transform into something that gives us a hero, that gives us an escape, that gives us a positive feeling,” Peele says. “There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the audience go crazy when Rod shows up.”
The film was a “deeply personal” project, Peele previously told Vanity Fair. He was determined to tell a story about his “slice of the African-American experience.”
“I think there’s been a lack of representation of our experience, of our voice, of our skin,” he says.
Speaking to Vulture, LilRey Howery admits he’s also quite glad the ending changed, adding that the alternative one will be available once the film is on DVD. “It’s almost too sad. Jordan’s genius was he was like, ‘O.K., this is a movie, we can’t end it like this.’ It’s too real.”
Like Peele, Howery also loves seeing audiences react to the theatrical ending. “That moment, when all you see is the lights on their bodies and the sounds of the car, you know what’s about to happen. Every audience I’ve seen it in, was like, ‘Oh come on, man!’ They don’t even notice I’m about to get out of the car because they’re all hurt already. They don’t even want to see the rest of the movie—like, ‘Where is the door, so I can get up out of here?’ But then when I come out that car, the crowd just erupts. If anything, that’s a gratifying feeling, seeing them lose their minds, taking them on that ride in that last scene.”
By Yohana Desta
Courtesy of Vanity Fair