Get Out is the directorial debut from Jordan Peele, from Key and Peele fame. For years now, he has obviously been known primarily for his comedic talent, but with Get Out, he attempts to show that he has some fresh ideas for the horror genre. This movie has been getting a lot of buzz since it debuted at Sundance earlier this year, and it has reached a fever pitch over the last week, with rave reviews coming out from almost every outlet. As a huge horror fan myself, I have been looking forward to this film for a good while now, and I am pleased to say that the wait payed off, because Get Out is great… like really great.
Since this is a new movie, my review will be spoiler free. For those who don’t know, Get Out is about a black man, Chris, going with his white girlfriend to her parent’s house so he can meet them for the first time. Chris is worried because Rose hasn’t told her parents about him being black. She assures him that they aren’t racist, and they get under way with their trip. Suffice to say, it doesn’t take long after arriving for Chris to figure out something isn’t quite right with Rose’s family.
I will get this out of the way right now, if you are going into this movie expecting it to scare the shit out of you, don’t. Get Out isn’t that kind of horror movie. Yes, it has moments that very well may make you jump or flinch, but it isn’t a movie that relies heavily on jump scares to get it’s fear across. Peele is much more content to let the film’s atmosphere and general unsettling feeling do the leg work. The movie succeeds greatly at both of those things, as I spent the majority of the film with a feeling of unease from scene to scene. This is especially true of any scene involving the Stepford-esque staff that Rose’s parents have working for them. Just their general demeanor and the way the actors played them really sold the uneasy feeling.
The music that accompanies most of the tense scenes in Get Out is very well done. As any true horror fan knows, the music is just as important as anything else in the movie when it comes to making it an effective horror experience. The music was understated when it needed to be and loud and bombastic in the scenes that called for it.
As far as the acting in the film goes, I was pretty pleased with everyone for the most part. There wasn’t really a single actor that felt out of place or incorrectly cast. Inevitably, some were better and more memorable than others, but there weren’t any glaringly weak performances in my opinion. Daniel Kaluuya was great, his character felt like a real person, which isn’t always easy to do, especially in horror. He never really overacted any of his scenes, and some of his facial expressions alone were perfect for what the scene needed. Allison Williams did perfectly fine for what was asked of her. She wasn’t the most intriguing character in the world, but she didn’t need to be. Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener were great as Rose’s parents. Keener was especially good in my opinion, as I found myself drawn to her soft spoken but eerie performance in each scene she was in. The stand out in this movie, however, is undoubtedly Lil Rel Howery. He plays Chris’ friend Rod, who works for the TSA. He doesn’t get an overabundance of screen time, but damn does he take advantage of every second he gets. He easily steals each scene that he is in, and he had the entire audience laughing out loud numerous times. I won’t spoil anything, but there is a specific moment when he is giving a vivid description of Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes, that just had me in stitches. I guarantee that movie goers will be seeing a lot more of Howery in the future, because of his performance here.
It is obvious that Peele had some things to say regarding racism and stereotypes with Get Out. However, he does it in such a way that doesn’t feel like he is trying to beat you over the head with it. There aren’t really any moments in this movie where a white person is being KKK level racist towards Chris. Almost all the racism is a little subtler, like someone just assuming that because Chris is black, that he should be an athlete. Peele is intelligent in the way that he writes these scenarios in the film, which honestly makes it more affective. There are already people out there calling Get Out “anti-white” and racist against white people, but I honestly don’t even want to devote any time in this review to those kinds of whiny ass comments. As a white male myself, I thoroughly enjoyed Get Out, and I’m not bothered in the least by anything in the film. I am also thrilled that Jordan Peele recently stated in an interview that he has at least 3 or 4 more horror scripts that he has written, and now that Get Out is being so well received, I have no doubt that he will be able to get them greenlit whenever he wants.
There are a couple of things that bugged me about the movie, so I must talk about them. They are very minor complaints, but still. First off, I have been thinking about it, and I still don’t really understand why the groundskeeper does that full speed run at Chris and then just suddenly turns and runs the other way. That moment is in the trailer so I’m not spoiling anything. Even after seeing the film, I don’t understand why that happened. Also, there is something Chris does near the end of the movie that I am not completely convinced would have helped him to escape the situation he was in at the moment, but that’s as much as I will say. Like I said, minor complaints, but I had to bring them up.
Overall, I found Get Out to be a great genre movie. It is a horror/thriller/comedy, and it does all of them well. The fact that this was Peele’s directorial debut just makes this all the more impressive, and if this is the kind of fresh take on a horror movie that he can bring us, I can’t wait to see what his other scripts look like that he has already completed. Go see Get Out. Even if you don’t typically like horror, go see it anyways. There are enough fresh ideas to warrant a viewing no matter what your feelings about the genre.