I’m not too big on horror movies. Not because I’m an easily-scared pussy, but because they’re not my thing. Many of them have a formula that gets boring after a while and you can pretty much see what’s going to happen next. Now there are movies that stand out more as definitive horror classics like the original 1978 Halloween, Night Of The Living Dead, and Scream. Most modern horror films in general have been stale and unmemorable. Jump scares, creepy atmosphere, blood, gore, etc. So it’s really refreshing when a film comes out that not only defies expectations, but takes classic and modern horror tropes and flip them around. That’s the case with today’s film, which is the directorial debut of comedian and writer Jordan Peele of Key & Peele fame. As I’m typing this, this film holds a perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Obviously, we got something special in our hands. This is Get Out.
Before I continue on, if you’re reading this and you have not seen this movie, I HIGHLY recommend you stop reading, go to your local movie theater and see it ASAP because I can’t talk about it without revealing spoilers.
Chris Washington is a black photographer living in Brooklyn with his white girlfriend Rose. They both head out on a trip out of town to meet her parents. There, Chris notices that the few black people in the neighborhood that the parents live in are acting strange. The story starts off as your typical meet the parents story, but then shit starts getting creepy and that’s when you know something’s off. It takes these turns that you don’t really expect when it comes to these horror movies and they’re all executed well with excellent writing from Peele.
What’s a movie without its cast and characters? Well… nothing. Pretty much every actor and actress do well with the roles they’re given. Daniel Kaluuya portrays Chris, who’s meeting his girlfriend’s parents for the first time. He’s a chill, laid-back brother who normally doesn’t make a big deal out of things until he heads out of the city. This dude is the best actor in the movie. His expressions are on point and they match how the audience feels watching the movie, so you end up rooting for him to get out of there alive in one piece. Rose (Allison Williams) is the loving, supporting girlfriend who wants Chris to meet her parents. Rose’s parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) are also great in this movie, starting off as typical parents, but they also have a dark secret, one that makes Chris want to leave. My favorite character is Chris’ best friend Rod, (Lil Rel Howery) a TSA agent who uses his skills to try and find Chris after he goes missing. This dude is one of the main sources of comic relief in this film and he kinda serves as the audience’s POV when it comes to the horror shit that goes on. At the end of the movie after shit goes down, he shows up in a police car (which had me worried because police+black man covered in blood+white person close to death=a disaster in the making) to take him home and he got a standing ovation from the audience. That, right there, is loyalty. The weakest character is Rose’s brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones). He was a bit too silly for me and, personality-wise, was basically a modernized version of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character from Django Unchained. Still, he wasn’t bad and insufferable, just unnecessary.
And now for a conversation that might make some people uncomfortable or mad, but it’s a discussion that must happen, especially in our modern times. Race plays a huge part of the plot, but instead of the more obvious, surface-level racism we expect from conservative, deep South white folks, we get a more subtle form from middle-upper class white liberals. The white characters in this movie suffer from ignorance grown out of their admiration for black people, which makes them believe that what they’re doing isn’t horrendous. It’s kind of a metaphor for white people’s often misguided attempt to sympathize with the black community. The scene with the parents’ get-together with a bunch of white couples also shows how uncomfortable black people often feel when they’re in a scenario of mostly white individuals. You see moments of racial tension throughout the film like in the beginning where, on their way to her parents’ house, Rose hits a deer and while talking to the police, a cop asks Chris for his ID even though he wasn’t driving. This is where Rose comes in to defend him, a reflection of why there’s distrust between communities and law enforcement. At the climax, it’s revealed that Rose’s family have been kidnapping black men and women in order to transfer someone’s consciousness to them through hypnosis and brain surgery (P.S., Rose was in on the act luring them in), which is why the black men and women have been acting strange. If he hadn’t attempted an escape while murdering the entire family, Chris was gonna be another victim of this family’s ungodly practice, which brings to mind cultural appropriation. In real life, we’ve seen aspects of black culture taken by white America and repackaged into something more marketable while in this movie, we have white characters wanting to be black people because of their admiration for them. Art imitates life. Sort of.
I give Get Out a 9/10. This is a film that takes people’s expectations and goes into a different route. Clearly, this was made by someone who enjoys horror movies and can easily take the piss out of them with no problem. The cinematography is amazing; Peele obviously knows how to shoot a horror film with the tension and atmosphere. The acting is top-notch all around. It does suffer a bit from slow pacing, but when you get to the second-half and things start picking up, the wait is worth it. It manages to be creepy as all hell while having some well-placed humor for levity. This film is gonna have people talking for a long time and for Jordan Peele to have his directorial debut be a home run is amazing. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next for him.