If you watch any movie within the next few weeks, make it Get Out. If I were less of a reviewer, I’d say something like “GET OUT and see it,” but that would be ridiculous. Do it, though.
From the mind of the hilarious Jordan Peele – half of comedy duo Key and Peele – comes a smart horror that delves deep into the simmering insidiousness of white suburbia. We’re introduced to Chris (Daniel Kaluuya); an African-american guy who’s going to visit his girlfriend’s (Alison Williams) white family for the first time. Usually I wouldn’t be too fussed about specifying the race of characters, but this is a film that deals with exactly that: how does a black guy deal with not-so-subtle racism while trying to set a good first impression?
What is subtle about Get Out is the film’s script; it’s probably one of its biggest assets. Somehow managing to go from genuinely chilling to comedic in a few beats, it’s a film which launches the audience onto a rollercoaster of tension. There’s a consistent underlying fear that everything might not be as it seems, but it’s hard to pin down exactly where things are headed. This wouldn’t be quite as effective were it not for the nuanced ways in which the world is built early on. Without being racist itself, Get Out manages to hold a light up to small acts of racism that accumulate into a sense of hostility. It’s really great stuff.
The fact that this is Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is really quite something, because it’s a film that excels on all fronts. Cinematography wise, it’s clever with how it uses its small budget and doesn’t rely on CGI to convey the terrors throughout. There’s a couple of moments when the smaller production is noticeable, but otherwise it’s seamless. The sound direction is also excellent, and consistent recurring themes within the soundtrack tie into both the action on-screen, and the overarching narrative. For this reason alone, the film will definitely be worth a second viewing.
Without spoiling anything, Get Out also ends at the perfect moment. With a film that partially relies on a mystery, there’s always the risk that things will rapidly go downhill once said mystery is unravelled (for me, A Cure for Wellness is the perfect contemporary example of this). Instead, things quickly come to a close not too long after all the cards are dealt, which is – in my opinion – the best way to do things. Leave them wanting more, and all that.
Though it’s a great horror movie (and a surprisingly hilarious comedy), there were a handful of scares which felt somewhat unjustified. By this, I mean specifically jump-scares which relied on harsh music cues in order to shock the audience. The main issue here is that the imagery accompanying the cues often would’ve sufficed on its own, and the loud noises did nothing to add to what happened on-screen. Usually I’d expect this from a modern horror movie, but the heights that Get Out managed to reach made it pretty laughable when it stooped to such a level.
All in all, though, this is probably one of the best films I’ve seen this year. It manages to tread the line between horror and comedy as successfully as the likes of Evil Dead II back in 1987, and I plan on seeing it a second time as soon as possible. Go out and support original screenplays like this, because if this is an example of the quality Jordan Peele can produce, then we’re all in for a treat.
In a startling transition from TV work to film, Jordan Peele has delivered one of the best horror films in a long time; a movie which satirises racism while remaining subtle and hilarious.