"Get Out" Review
By creating Get Out, director Jordan Peele has created the perfect recipe for a great sleeper hit for moviegoers tired of the usual January to February duds. Start with a great psychological horror thriller, add a little bit of comedy, a dash of social commentary, and top it off with a healthy amount of gore. Then combine this perfect recipe with a breakout lead performance from Daniel Kaluuya as Chris and a hilarious supporting performance by Lil Rel Howery as Chris’ best friend. Peele gives the world its first glimpse of his immense skill as a director. He guides the audience through a film that keeps you guessing after every twist and turn.
The story of Get Out starts out familiar enough for everybody who has been in a serious relationship. Chris and Rose (Allison Williams) have been together for six months and are going away for the weekend to meet Rose’s parents. Chris is cautious about the idea of going since he is black and Rose is white, but she doesn’t see it as a big deal. Eventually, Chris gets the idea that something about the family and house is not right. From here the story starts to speed up, taking twists and turns to keep the audience guessing as to what is really going on.
This is the part that Peele, also the writer, handles the best. He makes a new psychological horror film where you don’t know how it will end until it does. There is also the added bonus of raunchy comedy mixed throughout, most of which comes from Howery’s character, who is almost too proud of his job as a TSA agent. Peele’s experience as a comedy writer/actor on his hit partner sketch show Key and Peele allows him to handle the horror comedy element with ease. Every scare is effective and every humorous moment is truly funny, and both make the film even more enjoyable.
Peele describes this movie as a “social horror” and you can tell why he describes it that way. The whole way through the film, every confrontational or shocking moment is connected to racial differences between Chris and his hosts. When I heard this, I was skeptical of how that element would fit in with horror and comedy. Luckily for me, and the audience, the moments that send a message are like small little jabs to make you think and aren’t ham-fisted at you the entire time.
And what is a horror movie without some gore to make the squeamish look away for a couple seconds? The film holds back with extreme violence until the end and then lets it all loose with a fifteen-minute sequence that delivers on everything and more that the audience was expecting throughout the beginning and middle build-up phases.
Driving this movie along just as well as the writing and directing is the terrific lead performance of Kaluuya as Chris. We’ve seen a small dose of his talent in a supporting role in the critically acclaimed 2015 film Sicario. In his first leading role, he is required to play all types of emotions and tackles each one with the skill of a veteran actor who has been working for decades. The camera is pressed up right next to him several times throughout the film, allowing the audience to see every detail and emotion. By doing this flawlessly, we are immediately connected to Chris as a character because we are going through this experience just as blind as he is. We are just as confused and uneasy about the situation and hope he gets out of this safely.
For every horror protagonist in need of help, there is the best friend on the outside that will stop at nothing to see them safe again. Lil Rel Howery as Chris’ best friend Rod will definitely go down as one of the best supporting performances of the year. He is the only character carrying the comedy element of the film, but he doesn’t need any help since he steals practically every scene.
At the end of it all, Jordan Peele as the director of his own brainchild is the primary reason this movie works so well. He puts a lot of confidence in his cast, positioning the camera for multiple close-ups during the most important scenes, the biggest example would be the poster shot of Chris with tears down his face. Peele also infuses symbolism into multiple shots through the movement of the camera and the colors being presented, giving slights hints to the audience. Finally, he allows the film to flow together well and not feel disjointed between the multiple boxes this movie tries to check. The comedy and horror remain interluded the entire time, which raises the quality of each by playing off the other.
Get Out is one of the best and most important films of the year that is able to both entertain and teach us about present-day issues. It should be on everyone’s radar. By the end of the year, I expect to see it on many critics and fan lists as the most entertaining and liked film of 2017.