Review: Get Out

 

When you think about horror, you aren’t necessarily thinking about comedian Jordan Peele (Key & Peele). However, he’s the brilliant mind that directed and wrote the new horror movie Get Out.

The set up is simple: Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) take a trip to visit her parents for the first time. It’s not long before Chris realizes something isn’t right as the Armitage family mystery starts to present itself.

Get Out is more of an intense thriller than a horror film. It’s a terrifying social commentary with a little satire and comedy sprinkled on top. There are very few jump scares, no horror mascots (as my friend Jason Roestel would say), and very few horror movie cliches. Yet, Chris’ journey manages to be terrifying in a variety of ways.

The most unique thing about this original idea is the film’s main character. He’s every audience member watching Get Out. The audience understands Chris’ skepticism the moment he ask Rose if her parents know he’s Black and how it may have been important to tell them. Chris behaves like someone who’s very aware of horror movies and what happens to people in them. He’s also aware of who he is as an black man in America – the story doesn’t shy away from the paranoia, vulnerability, or uneasiness that’s part of the black experience in America.

It’s rare to have the black experience shown in a horror film. Some things are subtle while others aren’t, but Jordan Peele does it without being preachy or constantly hitting the audience over the head with it. He took a lived experience for a lot of Americans and wove it into a creepy story about a young man going to visit his girlfriend’s family for the first time.

The film also brilliantly illustrates how emotionally exhausting it can be when you’re the only black person at a gathering. The questions and conversations you’re drug into can be tiring. Those scenes should be a release from the tension Chris is feeling in the Armitage home, but they end up being almost as disturbing.

The big takeaway from the film – Daniel Kaluuya is a star. He gives a fantastic performance from start to finish. Chris goes through a wide range of emotions and Daniel makes each one believable.  Even with Daniel’s great performances in Black Mirror Season 1 and Sicario, who knew he had this type of performance in him? This performance should put Daniel in the conversation of Hollywood’s great young talented actors. People will get another chance to see him next year in Marvel’s Black Panther.

The rest of the cast is as good as Daniel. Allison Williams gives an incredible performance as Rose. Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener give equally crazy/creepy performances as her parents The Armitage’s. Caleb Landry Jones does a great job as Jeremy Armitage, the film’s most interesting character. Atlanta’s Laketih Stanfield has an amazing cameo along with comedian Lil Rel who plays Chris’ hilariously suspicious friend Rod.

Get Out is an imaginative horror film that taps into the day-to-day paranoia people have. It manages to walk the tightrope between believable and unbelievable, unimaginable with a pinch of heightened reality.  Jordan Peele wrote and directed one of the best horror films in years. He plays on realistic fears, created great characters, and wrote one of the most insane stories. The movie is terrifying without the use of big scares or lots of bloody bodies. Whatever Jordan Peele conceives next will be well worth a watch.

Grade: A-

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