Film Review: Get Out
Film: Get Out (2017) Director: Jordan Peele Rating: ★★★★★
Audiences got their fill of laughter and shock this weekend as they poured in to see “Get Out,” the directorial debut of Jordan Peele – of “Key and Peele” and “Keanu” fame. It’s a cleverly crafted homage to horror films and a satirical take on the state of race relations in the present day.
“Get Out” is the story of Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a promising black photographer based in Brooklyn, who reluctantly agrees to meet his girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) family. Despite a warm welcome, complete with hugs and sincere (even if awkward) “my man’s,” Chris can’t help but notice something more sinisterly off-putting about them, especially with their doleful and complacent black servants.
His concerns are duly-voiced via phone by his fast-talking friend Roy (played by the show-stealing Lil Rel Howery), a chubby TSA agent who acts as the film’s comedic subplot as well as an avatar for skeptic audiences internally screaming “Get out!”
When hearing the words “horror” and “comedy” in a movie description, what often comes to mind are the likes of “Shaun of the Dead,” “Cabin in the Woods” or “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil.” While all good films in their own right, they tend to ride more so on one side of the fence: failing (though more often, not trying) to work as true horror films, too preoccupied with satirizing the genre to really remind us of why we keep returning to the genre.
“Get Out,” on the other hand, toes that line in a pretty unprecedented way, using horror and humor simultaneously to make viewers laugh, cringe and most importantly, think about race and its effectiveness as a tool to achieve both.
A good example of this is the film’s prologue. Eerily tone-setting, it begins with a young black man named Dre (Lakeith Stanfield) walking through the barren streets of a dimly lit suburb. A white car with tinted windows passes by and wheels around to slowly creep behind him. The scene plays like a “Key and Peele” sketch before quickly taking a dark and violent (even if predictable) twist, leaving the audience uneasy as the opening credits start to roll.
Peele’s love for horror movies seeps through the screen throughout this film, from a plot that closely resembles Roman Polanski’s “Rosemary’s Baby” to the eerie credit sequences, reminiscent of Dario Argento’s “Suspiria”. You could probably spend multiple viewings just trying to spot the elements borrowed from a lifetime of horror fandom. How this really shines through, however, is in Peele’s ability to cleverly use the expectations tied to the genre in order to keep an audience on the edge of their seats, and ultimately reward them with what might be the most satisfying ending to a horror film in decades.
[“Get Out” is currently in wide release, and playing on a 4k Ultra Screen at Marcus Duluth Cinema. Thursdays at Marcus are $5 for students with free popcorn]