Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele (yes, of Key & Peele) is a surreal horror comedy that follows Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), dating Rose (Allison Jones), and it begins with his reluctance, being black, to spend a weekend with her awkwardly white parents at their family estate. Chris meets her overly sociable father (Bradley Whitford), along with her eerily calm mother (Catherine Keener). Chris doesn’t get over the uneasiness, and it gets inside his head. He is flung into paranoia, questioning in fear, as he begins to uncover the sinister truth.
With a view of the trailer, this one seems to be a political soapbox on race relations. In actuality, those ideas are essential to the plot. Chris faces interactions with others that foreshadow, give meaning, or haunt. It easily could have been forced, but it doesn’t feel like that, especially as the runtime goes on.
Pacing is gradually rising, right under your nose. Although some moments are totally offset, this holds true, and by the end, it’s just waiting to burst. Discomfort comes from the characters having worrying intent, but with a smile, or shedding a tear behind their obvious mask. This calls for fantastic performances, capable of some bizarre emotions, and it delivers. With each scene, the characters are more unsettling than the last. It makes you feel as though you are projected onto Chris, sharing his paranoia. They all have a distinct purpose too. No throwaway characters, no expendables that get one thing going and then get killed off immediately. Especially in the family, everyone works together to tell the story, and everyone matters. There are some laughs in here too, and at just the right moments. Phone calls to his friend on the outside break up some of the tension and lighten the mood in a hilarious way.
Despite this being his debut film, director Jordan Peele was truly able to capture the fundamentals of horror in Get Out. He puts the simplest of concepts under a lens that make them creepy, insignificant as they are. You can’t ignore that there were a few jump scares that later seemed pointless, but in general, it worked. This is coupled with sound mixing that is claustrophobic and unsettling, getting close to your ears. Not to mention, what a soundtrack. We’re given dissonant heavy strings, ominous choral chants to open and close the film, and other creative choices in between. Well done on sound overall. It all comes together with the cinematography. Nothing stands out as unfitting here, and there are plenty of wise moves, including a handful of close-ups that are perfect for their scenes. Given these components of filmmaking, it’s not only a thoughtful production, but it seems to also pay homage to the classics. With a long history of uninspired horror movies, it’s truly refreshing to see some passion in a film, touching on satire, and full of wild originality.
Get Out is certainly not a masterpiece, but it doesn’t have those noticeable flaws that we have all become used to over the years, and it has countless redeeming qualities. It delivers a respectable film, worthy of support for its filmmaking techniques, and its intelligent approach to a touchy subject. Look forward to more from the director, and see it for yourself. It’s an intense ride.
Written by Sean Chronister.