I remember when the first trailer for Get Out arrived online last year. It generated ample buzz across the internet, Personally I didn’t think it looked that good. I’ll have you know that I pride myself on being able to usually identify bad horror films from the more unique and interesting ones, based on the limited promotional material I choose to watch. I have a confession to make though, I was very very wrong about Get Out.
This film follows Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) an African American man who is visiting the the parents of his Caucasian girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams). After finding out that she didn’t inform her parents that he was black, he becomes rather nervous about the visit but once he gets there, things start to become more sinister than he could’ve ever imagined.
This is Jordan Peele’s directorial debut. He also wrote the script and my word is this script excellent. It takes the initial premise of a black man meeting his girlfriend’s white family, who may or may not be racist and it runs with it. It’s deep and contextually layered, it’s the type of script that’s so detailed that, I expect to notice many more things throughout the story upon future viewings. I also imagine this is the type of film that could get analysed in film classes, for how it is a fresh take on the current status of modern racial relations. There’s certainly a racial commentary through out the film and a point it’s trying to get across. The way the film plays with that racial commentary and how it unfolds it’s narrative upon you is outstanding. There were many moments throughout when I felt like I had caught onto the mystery of film, only to then realise later on that I wasn’t quite right. There was only one element of the films mystery that I correctly predicted, as for the rest it kept me guessing right until the full reveal. It’s a truly enthralling experience. Peele has a well known history with comedy and the way he peppers it throughout the script is really effective, all the comedy comes at the right moments and never once feels out of place. Sometimes we get outright comedic dialogue which is mostly delivered by Chris’ best friend Rod (Lil Rel Howery) who is damn right hilarious at times, but also some of the more intelligent comedy and horror for that matter, comes from situations and circumstances that Peele brilliantly puts these characters into. There’s many moments where either the awkwardness or irony of the situation is what causes you to find it funny. As the story develops we see the film slowly evolve into a horror film. I realised by the end, it evolves into a more obvious in your face type of horror film, I’m not saying that’s bad thing, bare with me as I explain. Upon further reflection I realised one of many things that makes this film truly special. Underneath the surface is a more obscure type of horror channelling it’s way through the films run time. That true horror is the nature of the scenario Chris finds himself in with some of the people he’s surrounded by. That horror links itself back to the key themes the film explores, such as race, class and more. It’s one of those moments where once you begin to look over the film as a whole, when you’ve reached the end, you start to realise it all even more so.
I’m not really an advocate of horror comedies, when I think horror comedy, I tend to assume it’ll be some kind of spoof film. If it’s not a spoof film, then I find they are typically uneven in terms of being equally effective, as both a horror film and a comedy film. There are some films that don’t face that problem, one that springs to mind is Evil Dead 2 but Get Out doesn’t struggle with problem that either. When it’s trying to be funny it is and when it’s trying to be more suspenseful and unsettling it succeeds.
Not only was Jordan Peele showcasing his pure talent with the writing, but he also does it with the direction too. The whole film is well framed with solid camera work. This film definitely has the best opening sequence for a horror film since It Follows. In a similar fashion to It Follows, Peele utilises the long take technique whilst focusing on a person walking down the streets of a suburb. It immediately draws you in and it’s an effective start to the film.
The musical score for the film provides quite a mixture of sounds, from more quiet unnerving compositions, To more harsh and loud choir vocals that can be quite haunting. There’s nothing within the soundtrack that I feel at the moment will become iconic, which is a shame because that may just be the only thing this film is missing. Iconic theme music.
Following on from what I said about Peele’s script earlier, the film is bolstered by some terrific performances. Daniel Kaluuya is very likeable as Chris, he brings across a natural believability to the role, and his mannerisms and how he executed his more subtle comedic moments worked really well. I’ve already stated this but I will reiterate that Lil Rel Howery is very funny as Chris’ best friend, he’s a natural comic who will have you laughing multiple times throughout the film. Allison Wilson was also very impressive as Chris’ girlfriend Rose. Her chemistry with Daniel made you instantly buy into the fact that these two people are in a relationship, and they manage to get you on board with that from the very first scene they share together. I won’t spoil what his role is but Lakeith Stanfield was also very good in the film. As for the parents played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener, they were far from the most memorable members of the cast, but regardless of that they managed to be unsettling when they neeeded to be.
The only thing I can really fault this film for is the fact that it didn’t actually scare me, but not too many horror films do. Even the ones I love. I can tell that it will probably scare a lot of other people though, but despite being unable to physically scare me, it still was suspenseful in key moments. Also as much as I dislike them, it included a handful of jump scares that weren’t cheap and that actually caught me of guard at times.
Overall, Get Out is one of those rare films that you know after your first viewing, will become an instant classic. It’s wholly original. It takes risks with it’s subject matter and themes but they all pay off, resulting in a masterful blend of two genres that will leave you unsettled yet still laughing from beginning to end.
(5 Stars out of 5)
Get Out; Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Lakeith Stanfield, Lil Rel Howery and Catherine Keener.
Directed by Jordan Peele. Now showing in UK & US Cinemas.