Let’s start with the scene from the trailer: she admits she doesn’t tell her family he is black. That is what I call in the dating world a "red flag." I can somewhat understand her being so “woke” she doesn’t see color, which by the way isn’t woke, but she didn’t even show them a picture? A neurosurgeon and a psychiatrist don’t have Facebook or cell phones? Personally, I’d at least ask my white girlfriend to send them a text, because a three day weekend with white people who are not prepared to find out a brown man is boning their princess is a recipe for disaster. In fact, as any brown man might tell you - no picture/ no description is typically indicative of something else…
That she knows her parents are racist.
However, her parents are not racist - they love black people, and they want her to have a black boyfriend who comes over. So why drag him and the audience through this canard? Don’t you want him to come without any suspicions?
As we later learn their cockamamie scheme, these are precisely the red flags this community should not be committing so black men let their guard down. But the film is rife with them:
Casually slipping into “jive”
Asking constant questions about the black experience as if he’s the first black person they met
Having two black servants who look like they’ve been drugged
Having a 55 year old white woman married to a similarly drugged young black man who dresses like Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird even though he has two clear tattoos and eventually snaps out of his catatonic state and tells him to escape
Sitting down to dinner with her Nazi brother who talks about eugenics, what I consider a party foul
And they’ve done this at least 10 times? Team white people better call a timeout and get their shit together.
So then we learn the twist - that they’re capturing black people so they can re-implant old white brains into them so they can live another life as a black person. We learn this because next to his bed is an open closet labeled ‘yikes,’ in which there’s a box labeled, ‘uh oh,’ in which there is one picture of each black boyfriend (and one girlfriend) she has brought to the house.
That is an absolutely lazy reveal. Damning evidence in this kind of thriller can’t just come out of nowhere. How about this? She has a photo album that she looks at throughout the film, and she tells Chris that it’s pictures of special people in her life but she doesn’t want anybody else to see it. He tricks her into leaving her bag unsupervised, and then he looks at the album to discover it’s each of her victims.
“I loved them all. And I love you,” she'd announce from the doorway with her family behind her.
And again, this family has done this at least 10 times - they should be way tighter than this, but Chris is still smarter.
Now, we learn this community is racist, but here’s their racism: they want to be black people because of their superior genes and they want more of them in the community.
I kinda get that the grandpa lost to Jesse Owens and never got over it. But he convinced the whole rest of the old rich white community to become black people? Yeah, that’ll work out, just a whole town of rich old white people suddenly becoming a town full of 28 year old rich black people. I hope none of the white people have kids!
And also, in no way is this indicated in the movie. All the zombie black people barely have a personality. You’d think an old man and old woman in a young nubile body wouldn’t be walking gently and talking softly. In fact, the only time the “grandpa” shows off his body is when he runs passed Chris late at night without stopping to say hello.
Red flag. Red flag.
Finally, from a screenwriting standpoint, the movie should have started on the drive, which was the purpose of the phone call to his friend and is the perfect time for exposition (Also closer to our first scare.) And they could have used this 10 minutes because the movie ended too early! The TSA agent saves the day, but two black men are leaving an affluent white community with several murders and a house that was burned down (HIDING THE EVIDENCE!!!!!).
What a missed opportunity for REAL HORROR.
The fallout would be hard to write, but to me it’d be way more interesting to watch him try to explain any of that.
Anyway, I laughed a few times and didn’t HATE the movie. The cotton move was terrific, and I was locked in after he was tied up in the basement. It was also well-acted, and I was absolutely relieved to see that Josh Lyman from the West Wing is hot again.
I guess I was just disappointed because the movie was about cultural microaggressions and some sort of reverse eugenics. That’s just too satisfying and easy to digest. It wasn’t what was in the trailer, and the real meat of racism:
White discomfort with and disapproval of the other.