I’m a white guy.
When comparing Jordan Peele’s Get Out with any other horror film, race and specifically the subjective race of the reviewer should at least be addressed if a contrarian point of view is presented. I really Loved Get Out and that’s not contrarian. It is a standard societal warning tale while also being a pitch perfect comedy that lays bare all the machinations that allow a horror film to operate.
What’s probably contrarian is that this film plays at a level about 1/2 the speed of Drew Goddard’s 2012 masterpiece, The Cabin in the Woods. Get Out is a microcosm on a monitor within the universe of The Cabin in the Woods and that’s not a bad thing.
For those of you who don’t remember, The Cabin in the Woods is a deconstructionist horror film which took all the tropes standard to the genre and flipped them on their ends. We got the perspective of why the blondes are dumb in scary scenarios. We understood why the dumb jock who takes charge gets shit wrong. We learned why screwing in the woods is forbidden. In Get Out, we were taught just why the treatment of black people in these certain situations is fucked up.
Get Out and The Cabin in the Woods share such a common DNA that it’s head-scratching to try to understand why the former is performing so amazingly while the latter had an abysmal theatrical run. Firstly, we weren’t prepared for this sort of societal, burn-it-all-down horror in 2012. Blumhouse, which produced Get Out, released Sinister in 2012, a much more standard Conjuring-esque tale that put the production company on the map. That movie was a far cry from today’s socially aware scare flicks, being more a composition of Paranormal Activity and The Amityville Horror.
In 2017, we’re primed and ready for the sort of horror that Jordan Peele is putting out. There’s a reason why that name is so important to this conversation, too. Jordan Peele is a member of the millennial/online community like Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard are not. What Peele lacks in directorial/writing perfection (and don’t get me wrong, his structuring and compositions are top-notch), he makes up for in audience awareness. Everyone of a certain age knows Key & Peele and all the millennial white kids in my screening were talking about how he was able to make this transition before the film started.
What stands out, to me, is that Jordan Peele knows exactly where horror needs to go in the future. He understands what audiences want and knows how to smartly give it to them. Peele also clearly believes in the moving image as his canvas and his directorial career will probably brightly outshine everything else he’ll do. There’s not much higher praise than that.
Except that The Cabin in the Woods did it first, better and with Bradley Whitford.