Film Review: Get Out

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By: Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

Remember way back in 2016, when we couldn’t wait until we got to 2017? Oh, how naïve we were! We have, arguably, the worst White House since the White House was built, anger is rampant around the country, the world is hating the United States (specifically the “President”), and racism appears to be alive and well. With everything going on, this was the perfect time for writer/director/actor Jordan Peele (you know him from the Key and Peele show) to bring a film targeting all of these things that do not make America great. With his own flair on the horror/suspense genre, Peele brings us the film Get Out.

Aspiring photographer Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) has been dating his white girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) for four to five months, and she’s asked him to go with her to visit her family for a weekend. He’s a little uncomfortable, as she’s never told her family that he’s black. Then there’s the fact that her father, Dean (Bradley Whitford), is a neurosurgeon, and her mother, Missy (Catherine Keener), is a hypnotherapist. Plus, they live in an upscale area with highly rich friends. Against the advice of his best friend Rod (LilRel Howery), he goes. Things appear alright on the surface, with Dean stating he would have voted for Obama for a third term, but something seems off, especially when he notices the bizarre, zombie-like behaviors of the maid (Betty Gabriel) and the groundskeeper (Marcus Henderson), the only two other African-Americans in the vicinity. After being hypnotized by Missy, things get weirder and weirder. Could this all be a part of the hypnotism, or is something evil really going on in upscale, white privilege suburbia?

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Get Out is a suspense horror film, but it isn’t like anything you may be expecting. This one is rated R in a day where everything seems to be PG-13, but it isn’t rated R for the graphic violence and gore nor the sexuality we’ve come to expect. No, it is rated R for a couple of moments of profanity with minimal blood and gore. Peele crafts a horror film with tact and art, taking us all into an uncomfortable community and making us feel as if we are the minority, as if we are the “sore thumb” amongst the white elite (sound familiar with our current head of state and his billionaire cabinet members?). But Peele doesn’t get too serious, as his background is comedy, so even the scares may have their moments of levity afterward. Then there’s his take on race relations, reminding us that there can be some condescension that exists in the minds of others on the outside looking in, despite what they may portray. He doesn’t use this as a podium point, but instead as a means to establish a “stranger in a stranger land” background.

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Daniel Kaluuya melds right into that background, taking a modern day man and throwing him into an environment, and a world, that is not only unfamiliar to him, but also unfamiliar to most of us. He plays the role as many of us would probably perform being thrown in a similar situation, making the character so much more relatable. It gets to that point where we, as the audience, feel awkward, and feel the unseen dangers swarming around despite everything appearing fairly normal on the outside. And when things start becoming more and more strange, we are right there in the room with Kaluuya’s character. Williams is there to support her man through this weekend, believing Chris when the situation becomes too real for him. She’s the type of person you want in your corner…or is she? Keener comes off a little creepy, but then I’m sure more than a couple of hypnotherapists probably are, considering their profession. Whitford, on the other hand, plays a kind – and more welcoming – father figure, and probably the most normal one of the bunch.

Get Out is pretty perfect when it comes to what a horror/suspense film should be. It stays away from all of the cliché horror moments and uses tact and gracefulness to create an atmosphere of horror and tension. There are also those moments of levity stemming from what any of us may have done in these situations, making it even more so relatable. The film isn’t without its flaws, with some things being a little predictable, especially if you are paying attention to detail. Yet none of this takes away from the gem that Jordan Peele has crafted here. There is also homage paying to some of the other horror/suspense thriller classics such as Deliverance, The Stepford Wives, and Scream, to name a few. Will the box-office revenues deliver on how solid a film this is? We’ll find out in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, Get Out is definitely a film to see with its “road less traveled” take on the horror genre.

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


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