Oh boy, this is going to be incredibly awkward to talk about. Right so, to start off, I should clarify my perspective. I am a white, middle class, British male. I consider myself to be pretty liberal socially, and I would hope that I am not racist. However, Get Out, a horror film directed by comedian Jordan Peele of MadTV and Key and Peele fame, has made me think critically about my position and how that has affected causes that I believe in.
Chris, a young photographer, is going to his girlfriend Rose’s parent’s house for the weekend. However, Chris is nervous for the extra reason that Rose is white, and he is black. Chris meets Rose’s parents Dean, a neuroscientist, and Missy, a psychologist and hypnotherapist, and things seem to be going well, that is until Chris meets the servants and family friends who act particularly strangely.
Billed as a social thriller, and marketed as a straight up horror film, a la the Stepford Wives, Get Out is a remarkably uncomfortable watch. It also deals with a side of society that isn’t much talked about, liberal racism. This issue is far too complicated to explain in this short review, just know that by exploring these themes Get Out provides a unique perspective on American society, one that made me as a white middle-class British person consider carefully my attitude toward race.
These themes are helped by particularly fantastic performances; Daniel Kaluuya (from Black Mirror and Sicario) is entirely believable and incredibly layered for a horror film protagonist. Girls’ Allison Williams is wonderful as Rose, and the Armitage family played by The West Wing’s Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener and a highly unpleasant Caleb Landry Jones (who is perhaps most recognisable as Banshee from X-Men First Class) provide the most unsettling moments. Thankfully the film provides some much needed comic relief in the form of Lil Rel Howery’s Rod.
On a technical level, Get Out does a fantastic job layering on the scares and atmosphere. The film has an extraordinary ear and eye. A horror film relies on its sound designer to provide a great deal of the tension and Get Out delivers, coupled with a masterful understanding of shot length and composition. The sunken place was especially effective. I was on the edge of my seat for a great majority of the movie.
Get Out is a highly important film, but it is also remarkably entertaining, intelligent and thought provoking, I found myself pondering the film long after it was finished, proving just how effective it is as social commentary and as a horror film.