By Adam Berg
★★★ out of ★★★★
Comedy and horror always make a killer combination. But who knew that the addition of racial satire would land so well? Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, Get Out, offers viewers a unique film experience with laughs, jumps and twists that you never see coming.
The great thing about Get Out is that that film can be enjoyed at a surface level. It’s simply a twisted version of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?. Except in this version, the guest is welcome, but for all the wrong reasons.
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams) have been dating for almost six months and she’s ready to introduce him to her folks who live upstate. Director Peele hones in on a common fear; meeting your significant other’s parents. Chris is concerned that since he is black, meeting his white girlfriend’s parents will be an issue. Rose assures him that her folks are the most worldly and open of people. In fact, a point that’s stated more than a few times is that if her father, Dean, (Bradley Whitford) could have voted for Obama for a third term, he totally would have. No racist bone in this guy’s body, right?
As soon as Chris and Rose arrive something seems off. The mom, Missy (Catherine Keener), is a creepy hypnotherapist who wants to help rid Chris of his smoking habit. Their maid and groundskeeper are a pair of zombie-like sycophants (more like psycho-phants!) who stalk at night and seem to sabotage Chris when they can. Rose’s older brother is a loon with an obsession with MMA and choke-holds. At one point it’s too much for Chris but by then it’s too late… the secret is out and all hell breaks loose.
It’s hard not to reveal too much of the film because so many of its great moments exist in some major spoilers. That being said, the film is great fun although it’s not as scary as one might expect. Apart from a few jump scares, this movie seems like less of a horror film and more of a thriller. The concept itself is frightening enough; mind control with racial hypnosis, but there just aren’t enough “OMG! I have to close my eyes!” scenes in Get Out. Add to the fact that the gore is limited and quite tame compared to the genre’s counterparts, it makes you wonder if they could have gone with a PG-13 rating if some of the language had been cut out.
Get Out’s timing couldn’t be better. Peele began writing this film five years ago in the “post-racial” Obama presidency. Now we are in the “post-post racial” era of a Trump presidency. According to the both the conservative and liberal media we are more divided now than ever. How perfect is this movie for the times we are living in?! Get Out doesn’t beat you over the head with messages and undertones. Or perhaps, the messages went completely over this white reviewer’s head. As stated before, this movie doesn’t have to be enjoyed as if you’re a film student writing a thesis on racial satire. But if you’re the type who can’t help but think critically, Get Out may have you taking an introspective look at yourself and the society we live in.
The Good: Some major belly-laughs as well as tense/cerebral moments are to be relished in watching Get Out.
The Bad: The film isn’t as scary as it thinks it is and has some pretty convenient plot devices which guide our hero in and out of trouble.
Final Word: A very entertaining and engaging film that will surely sprout a few copy-cats. I can’t wait for the sequel that’ll surely come based on the success of Get Out.
Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener. Directed by Jordan Peele.
Running Time: 103 minutes
Rated R for violence, bloody images, and language including sexual references