A racially charged, uncomfortable and satirical psychological thriller. Get Out was a unique experience.
Chris and Rose are four months into their relationship and seeing as it is serious, Rose takes him to visit her parents who live in the countryside. Chris is immediately hesitant, and what at first seems to be nothing more than awkward family meeting quickly becomes far more sinister and a sense of entrapment sets in…
I was not sold on the trailer for Get Out when it released months ago. It felt too forced and too predictable to be scary for what is being labeled a “horror film”. I thought it looked dumb.
Maybe my lowered expectations (despite raving critical reviews more recently) set me up to enjoy it?
If you have seen the trailer, then you’ve probably seen too much. Asides from a mild satirical edge and a couple of twists, the film is as it appears from the start and does nothing to waylay you or lure you into a false sense of security. Upon arriving at Rose’s parents’ house we see privileged and intelligent home owners, with two African American servants. Chris (played by Daniel Kaluuya) starts laying out the bemused expressions at every opportunity. Sure, the “old-fashioned” nature of the house’s arrangement was called out in the script, but then we are immediately told Rose’s mother is a hypnotist…
Okay, okay, okay. Putting satire aside, the entire story is laid bare within the first fifteen minutes. That was my initial reaction coming through from the trailer, realised in the movie. Some of the humour too, while genuinely funny, did feel a little tonally off with the rest of the movie. Get Out also has a couple of logic stumbles (like all horror films) such as the Police openly laughing at a man despite him basically solving a six month long Missing Persons case. What?
But. The film surprised me. There’s a lot to like despite its transparency.
The soundtrack is gorgeous, I loved it from the moment the film opens cold with a man being kidnapped to the song Run Rabbit Run. For the directorial debut of Jordan Peele, this film was masterfully done, it is an impressive first go at film-making! Performances across the board are subtle or incredibly unhinged when they need to be, from Allison Williams’ Rose, to Betty Gabriel as the house’s disturbed maid Georgina. Perhaps Get Out‘s major success is the subtly in the performances building the tension.
Plus the film actually made me jump. An actual jump-scare actually got a startle from my cold, unfeeling lethargy for horror films. This film knows how to build tension.
It isn’t overly horrific, at least not until the last few moments. There’s swearing and blood and disturbing imagery and connotations, but it isn’t an outright gore movie. More like a psychological thriller/horror.
I want to keep things as spoiler-free as possible here, because I believe Get Out benefits knowing as little as possible. But what with Hollywood being rocked by exceptional movies such as Moonlight and Hidden Figures recently, and even Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix television, it stands to reason that the horror genre would have its chance to address the bigger issues of race in today’s world. Get Out does this perfectly. From Rose’s tough defense of Chris when a cop asks for his license despite him not being the one driving, to the clearly warped and racist views of the film’s antagonists. Views captured with perfect, blissful, ignorant smiles from people more calculating and subtle in their racism than the usual meatheads Hollywood like to depict.
It doesn’t need blood-soaked carnage when your spine is tingling by the wrongness of everything being said.
You know I am going to do you all a favour and not post the trailer. If you like psychological thrillers and horrors with subtext, Get Out is a must see and an incredible achievement from a debut director.