‘Get Out’ Provokes Serious Thought While Providing Serious Scares
I don’t know if people will feel the impact of ‘Get Out‘ immediately but this film will change horror. The genre hasn’t been challenged like this in decades, while race hasn’t been touched on like this in horror since ‘Night of the Living Dead‘. The importance of this isn’t how it handles race but how realistic a horror story is told. With many supernatural horror films crowding the box offices, I’m glad a movie like this can shine!
There’s nothing scarier than racism and ‘Get Out‘ proves that.
If you’ve seen the trailers, you “get” the premise. Young, black Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) is off to meet his white girlfriend’s parents for the first time. He’s expectably nervous but his girlfriend brushes off his fears saying things like “my dad isn’t racist, he would’ve voted for Obama to have a third term” and other vapid white statements. So once he arrives at the house, all his fears begin to come true as everything feels wrong.
That’s what director Jordan Peele does very well here. I feel perturbed from the moment Chris and his girlfriend Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) roll up to her house. Without ever feeling forced, the scares and suspense are very apparent. At first, it’s normal nerves but as things get stranger, those nerves turn into real fear and confusion. The character of Chris feels those emotions and so do the viewers.
For all the scares, I knew Peele of the comedy duo Key and Peele would add some humor but I’m glad it never took away from the horror. Balancing horror and comedy is hard without going too funny and ‘Get Out‘ found a perfect balance. This is high praise but Jordan Peele’s direction reminds me of Wes Craven’s in ‘Scream‘!
“Black Is In Fashion”
– Quote from ‘Get Out‘
All the performances of the film are noteworthy but it’s Rose’s parents Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy (Catherine Keener) that sell the horror in this piece. As soon as they step on screen, you are uneasy and that feeling grows the more their characters unravel. Seeing Missy’s hypnotisms scenes are the most white-knuckle moments I’ve seen from a studio horror film in some time. I found myself wanting it to be over so I can be less tense. That’s powerful horror filmmaking from a first time horror director!
I would be serious remiss to not note how hilarious Lil Rel Howery is. He plays Chris’ best friend and serves as the comedic relief. He’s really the only source of typical humor but it comes off so honest. His character Rod is the person who yells at the screen and says “get out of there, you moron!”. Lil Rel Howery is not only used for laughs, though. He actually pieces together a lot of the mystery behind what’s going on in this creepy suburb. Even if his TSA skills keep telling him this is all about “sex slaves”…
“Like comedy, horror has an ability to provoke thought and further the conversation on real social issues in a very powerful way… ‘Get Out’ takes on the task of exploring race in America, something that hasn’t really been done within the genre since ‘Night of the Living Dead’ 47 years ago. It’s long overdue.”
– Jordan Peele (2015 Press Release)
Peele is so right about this being “long overdue”. While there’s been a few horror films with predominate black casts or directors, the issue of race is NEVER looked at in this genre.
It’s usually played for laughs or tropes but this movie continues on what the iconic ending of ‘Night of the Living Dead‘ started. There’s even a scene that feels like it’s building towards something similar! What George Romero did with his classic zombie film was feature an African-American man at the forefront of a horror film and basically make him a hero…until he’s killed by some morons! That moment still sends shockwaves through the genre and I’m glad Jordan Peele used that as an inspiration for ‘Get Out‘.
Intense racial issues in America seem to be at the biggest high since the Civil Rights Movement. So this movie feels more than timely, it feels like the start of something.
Without trying too hard, real conversations can be started from this film. Topics like racial profiling, white privilege, and blind racism are things I walked away with. It also gets to showcase a unique voice in a film genre that has almost zero black visibility.
‘Get Out‘ is going to do for horror what Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade‘ did for music. It tells a bold singular vision of life as a black American. It doesn’t hold back with dealing with hard issues but somehow, all of that doesn’t make it any less approachable.
Jordan Peele never scarifies his horror for his humor and I applaud. For a first-time horror filmmaker, Peele has one of the brightest futures in the genre!
I have no doubt this will make it onto my “Best of 2017” list.
4 out of 5, for sure.
Get Out opens February 24th, 2017.
The film is written and directed by Jordan Peele and stars Daniel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford and Caleb Landry Jones.
“In Universal Pictures’ Get Out, a speculative thriller from Blumhouse (producers of The Visit, Insidious series and The Gift) and the mind of Jordan Peele, when a young African-American man visits his white girlfriend’s family estate, he becomes ensnared in a more sinister real reason for the invitation. Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya, Sicario) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams, Girls), have reached the meet-the- parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy (Catherine Keener, Captain Phillips) and Dean (Bradley Whitford, The Cabin in the Woods). At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined.”