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Get Out – Movie Review

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Get Out – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Pictures

Some people may express surprise at comedian Jordan Peele directing a horror film. However, even looking at plenty of his Key & Peele sketches, it’s clear he has a real filmic knowledge of various genres. Get Out takes a concept he would often utilise in his sketches and takes it to the likely horrifying conclusion. Like Guess Whose Coming to Dinner mixed with The Stepford Wives, Peele cleverly using race relations in the United States and puts the main character in the middle of a slightly off-putting Caucasian family. Some viewers will probably relate to certain aspects of the film more than others, but that underlying creepiness is effective, no matter what one’s background.

There’s a beautiful simplicity to the way Peele directs the early sequences. There’s a creepy uneasiness, particularly in the way Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener play their roles, but he never overdoes it. The entire film is told from Chris’s point of view and we share a lot of his anxiety at what is happening. Peele does not frame many of the shots in a typical horror film light and that lack of atmosphere may detract from the film a little. However, he does not want to play by normal horror film rules. There are thankfully a lack of jump scares. Rather, Peele seems very intent on close-ups to raise the intensity level.

Throughout Get Out, Peele does call back to his comedic beginnings, mostly through Chris’s best friend trying to piece things together. These moments of comic relief are not jarring, but mostly because we feel his same distress. One sequence with a police woman produces the biggest laughs in the film, while also showcasing the ticking clock. The script does have some genuine twists and turns hidden among the obvious reveals and Peele keeps one interested in seeing what will be revealed. The audience frequently finds themselves piecing things together and trying to understand how much of Chris’s paranoia is justified.

It’s difficult to watch Get Out and not immediately make parallels to the real world. Peele seems intent on saying that regardless of how progressive somebody might say they are, the question of race never disappears. Rather than a monster or masked man with a machete, he is using real fears to create tension. It will be easy for some to connect the film’s themes with the outcome of the last Presidential election. However, a different result would not have changed what Jordan Peele is trying to explore here. He is directly pointing his finger at how everyone might see a person of colour, whether they’re a blithering racist or somebody who wants to show off how forward thinking they are.

Everyone will analyse Get Out differently. However, even looking past the socio-political subtext, it’s a creepy and effective horror film that works in getting into the viewer’s head and share the uneasiness of its lead protagonist. With his film debut, Jordan Peele shows a lot of promise as a filmmaker and while this is a good first effort, he will make even better movies in the future. Get Out is a clear example of how we should not fit certain filmmakers into a box and they are capable of switching to new genres. Whether Peele continues to make more horror films or transfers to other genres, he’s a director whose future projects will be of great interest.

 

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE

Stefan Ellison