Review: Get Out
Since I saw a trailer for Get Out back in October of last year, I’ve been looking forward to Jordan Peele’s contribution to the horror genre. Knowing his background in comedy (he’s half of the duo Key And Peele, who had their sketch comedy show on Comedy Central) I expected a horror film with some humor. What it turned out to be was even better.
Get Out succeeds in being legitimately scary while also offering up some well-done (if over the top) laughs and social comment in the process. It’s the best horror film I’ve seen since 2015’s It Follows. But it’s more than just a horror film. In some ways, it’s the horror successor to 2014’s darkly satiric film, Dear White People. If that one effectively laid waste to the notion that we’re living in a post-racial time, this one drives that point home.
Daniel Kaluuya stars as Chris Washington, a photographer. As the movie begins, him and his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) are going on a weekend trip to meet her parents. Chris has some doubts about this as Rose reveals that she hasn’t told them that this is an interracial relationship. But she assures him that they will have no problems with this as her dad “would have voted for Obama for a third-term”.
Upon arriving, Chris finds her parents Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy (Catherine Keener) to be not unfriendly but more than a little condescending. As the sotry goes on, other people enter into it and things become increasingly more sinister. Before long, we’re in full-on thriller territory.
Trying to combine horror with comedy is quite tricky. Both genres depend a lot on surprise. A lot of times, the laughs distract form the scares and vice versa. For every An American Werewolf In London or Shaun Of The Dead that has succeeded at that combination, there are 10 that fail. Get Out luckily is closer to the former than the latter.
Peele manages to let the suspense build gradually until it reaches boiling point. This makes the horror parts effective. When he introduces the comedy, he makes it feel just different enough that it doesn’t detract form the horror yet still works as part of the larger story. A large amount of the comic relief comes from comedian Lil Rowel Howery as Chris’s buddy Rod who works for the TSA. He gets the bulk of the funny lines.
So both the horror and the humor manage to work well together and not come off as if they are fighting each other. In addition, there’s also some social commentary skillfully interwoven throughout the movie. Peele successfully skewers both racism and white people who often obliviously resort to condescension when interacting with black people. Yet it doesn’t come off as overly confrontational as some people have claimed. Get out makes its points skillfully while also being spectacularly entertaining.
As most experienced moviegoers know, hitting the cinema in January/February can be dicey if you’ve seen all the previous year’s holdovers. These are the garbage dump months in which studios dispose of all the filler that would likely get buried any other time of the year. Fortunately, Get Out most definitely does not fall into that category. If you’re looking for an entertaining film with a dash of social commentary, see it.