Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is heading out to the countryside to meet his girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) parents, Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy (Catherine Keener). Everything seems a little too idyllic, and when Chris starts noticing that all the black people he meets are acting very strange, he starts to discover there is something really twisted going on.
Original Horror is Winning
Original horror has been going through a real renaissance at the box office. These last few years have seen big critical and financial successes like Don’t Breathe, It Follows and recently Split. Letting creators go crazy and try new and sometimes controversial ideas has been paying off. That trend continues with Get Out, the directorial debut of Jordan Peele — known as one-half of Key & Peele — and this might be one of the best.
Get Out is a movie made by someone who loves the horror genre and film in general. There are clear influences from such classics as The Shining and Halloween, but also interesting spins on films like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? and Seconds. It’s a genre-blending blast that ends up being equal parts hilarious and horrifying. It can be easy to make a horror/comedy that leans more towards laughs with only a few real scares scattered throughout, but it’s much tougher to find a tonal balance that carries through the entire picture. Get Out magically manages that with awe-inspiring precision.
More Than Just Scares
It’s also a horror film that understands crafting fully-formed characters makes the story have more of an impact. The movie takes its time to establish Chris and what makes him unique: his fears, his weaknesses, his sense of humor. This slow build also reflects well on the simmering tension. The first hour feels like a lit fuse, and the explosion that happens halfway through is a crazy one. And all of this is bolstered by an A+ cast that is firing on all cylinders. This has to be one of the best ensembles in modern horror history.
There’s also some very cutting commentary going on about modern racism and how it isn’t the firebrand hatred we usually view it as. Get Out explores the insidious and almost congenial nature of racism in today’s culture. The film is also tackling how white culture appropriates and consumes black culture to a point that is akin to possession. Get Out has more than just scaring you on its mind; this will leave you buzzing with conversation after you exit the theater. And the way it deals with black stereotypes in horror films is hilarious.
But what’s truly striking is how assured Peele’s direction is. Frankly, this is a debut that feels like it was made by a filmmaker in his absolute prime. There is incredible visual storytelling going on — the way the film imagines how being under hypnosis feels is gorgeous and terrifying — and a real understanding of setup and payoff. There is nothing extraneous in Get Out. Everything on screen or being spoken has true value. It’s all in service of something greater.
Is Get Out Good?
I’d go as far as saying it’s a landmark for the genre. Get Out is horror filmmaking at its absolutely finest. It’s a classy production that isn’t afraid of being weird or controversial. Everyone involved is at the top of their game, and the subject matter is something we haven’t really seen in a major motion picture like this. There’s no way this doesn’t end up as one of my favorite movies of the year. As it stands, it’s the best film of 2017.