The genre of horror is not an easy one to successfully get fully right, no matter what way you go about it. There are many types of horror, and the suspense/thriller route may seem like an easy one to nail but it could perhaps be the most difficult one to get correct. There is a fine line in what can be seen has scary and suspenseful, the audience is varied on what appeals to them. However comedian Jordan Peele has carved a film that not only gets all of these elements right in Get Out, he manages to add in themes and a statement that feel extremely relevant in today’s world. He hits on a note that will affects viewers, he does not over play things and by the end the film will certainly give its audience a lot to ponder.
Our story here focuses on photographer Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams), who have a weekend away planned for Chris to meet her parents in a rural area. Chris is a touch nervous because he’s black and Rose and her family are white and he isn’t sure how they will react. Once they arrive at the Armitage estate, Roses’ parents Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy (Catherine Keener) are quite welcoming and race does not seem to be an issue. Chris is taken aback when he notices their groundskeeper Walter (Marcus Henderson) and maid Georgina (Betty Gabriel) are also black. Dean and Missy explain that they cared for Dean’s parents and were kept on, despite how it looks in terms of their race. Their strange behaviour sends alarm bells off for Chris and things get stranger when Dean and Missy’s upper class white friends come for a celebration and their own behaviour seems quite off.
Get Out has a lot more going for it, to avoid spoilers this synopsis has been as vague as possible. Jordan Peele is clearly a fan of the classic horror film The Stepford Wives, which this film pays homage to. It is not a remake or reboot or a rip off, it is its own being and brings a lot of new flare to that tale. This is a slow burn story, and each step is carefully crafted, it does not give too much away too soon, and if the viewer pays enough attention the puzzle pieces will fall into place. The race element of the film was quite risky, Peele manages to hit the right notes, he does not stamp in his message but it is subtle enough to feel and appreciate what he is trying to say. The film does have a lot in common with Brian Yuzna’s Society, except replace the rich elite with rich white conservatives and the targets from the lower class to people of colour. There is a reason why these people are targeting who they are, and race does play a small part but it isn’t quite what one may immediately think, a clever move.
From the first few minutes the film easily sucks the viewer in and the ride gets more uncomfortable as it goes along. There are a few scares that are there to unhinge the viewer and put us into Chris’ shoes, in this regard it works extremely well as they aren’t there for the sake of it. The script is extremely clever, the dialogue works as do the dynamics between the characters. There is some light humour in the film, which works with the story being told and it rarely feels out of place. The rural setting adds to the danger, where the central character is essentially trapped even if they don’t realize that right away. Having the strange behaviour of the family slowly reveal itself is unnerving and the mystery of what exactly is going on runs throughout.
Performances here are outstanding, with Daniel Kaluuya being the stand out of the piece. He is the main character and the film is seen through Chris’ eyes, he held the film strong and made for a very compelling protagonist. Kaluuya is definitely set for a big career, and he certainly deserves it. There was a lot of natural chemistry between Kaluuya and co-star Allison Williams, they felt like a couple and it worked extremely well. Her performance was spot on for the role of Rose, she hit all the right notes and played it like a pro. Bradley Whitform and Catherine Keener were great as the parents, they also had excellent chemistry and played off of each other like it was nobody’s business. Marcus Henderson and Betty Gabriel were perfect as Walter and Georgina, they knew exactly how to play their roles and kept it quite intriguing. LilRel Howery was a good piece of comic relief as Rod best friend to Chris’, he was not over used and made his role memorable. Lakeith Stanfield was a standout in the small role of Logan, the only other person of colour at the Armitage’s get together.
Jordan Peele may be known for comedy, and this was an unexpected treasure of a film from the man. He wrote a clever script with a big message, and if there is anything to really take away from this film it is that humans are not objects to be used and treated as if they are nothing. Money should not buy someone the right to do as they please, and this is a message that is quite relevant today. The idea for this film came to Peele in 2008, however it feels right at home in 2017 with the ever-changing political climate. Not only is the man a great writer, his direction was fantastic, he got some amazing performances from his actors and crafted a truly unsettling film. Cinematographer Toby Oliver made this a beautiful film to look at, the scenery looked truly stunning as did everything else. The music was also well handled by Michael Abels, it added a great element to the suspense of the film. Get Out is one of 2017’s best films, a must see for cinephiles and horror fans.