“I know a horror movie is doing its job when I physically recoil in my seat, and that happened multiple times during Get Out.”
Just to get this out of the way, this review is going to go into major spoilers for Get Out. If you haven’t yet seen Get Out, I suggest you do so because it is every bit as good as everyone has been saying.
Get Out is a movie that came out of nowhere for a lot of people, but over a very short amount of time (seemingly overnight) everybody was talking about it. Get Out is a film by writer/director Jordan Peele of Key & Peele fame. Unlike Peele’s other work, Get Out is a horror film even being produced by Blumhouse, the purveyor of modern horror films. Get Out follows Chris, a black man who gets talked into going to visit his white girlfriend’s parents. When he arrives he feels that something isn’t right, and he is correct in this assumption. It is now up to Chris to find out what the fuck is going on, and Get Out (see what I did there? Because “Get Out” is the title of the movie, but it is also a phrase that applies to this scenario. God, I’m hilarious.)
So really the first thing that surprised me about Get Out was just how fucked up this movie was. From the very first scene we get a taste of how brutal this film will be, and the rest of it does not pull punches. Get Out manages to create this constant feeling of dread that is always rising until it culminates into the absolutely insane ending. But this movie isn’t all doom and gloom, because there is actually a fair bit of comedy thrown in there as well. That’s actually what takes Get Out from good to great in my opinion, the fact that it kind of throws you off guard at times due to the comedy. Now don’t get me wrong, this movie isn’t hilarious through and through because it knows when to seize a moment. If the audience would be better suited wallowing in their own fear, that’s what happens. If the audience would be better served by an offhand remark that is fucking hilarious, that’s what we get. Get Out (or really, Jordan Peele) knows just how to blend the two genres perfectly to create a rather unique experience. And when the jokes stop, this movie goes off the deep end in terms of how fucked up it is. When the reveal came around I was literally awe-struck at how demented the idea was. It managed to subvert my already fucked up expectations and present something that completely caught me off guard. And what I also really respected about Get Out was that the main character was actually competent. We often see tropes in horror films that make the characters incompetent to create this sense of tension. We know that if they just ran away they would be safe, but instead they decide to hide in the closet; shit like that. Get Out doesn’t just avoid that, but it gives us the satisfaction of watching Chris kick the living shit out of every single person who wronged him in this film. And much like the beginning, this part of the film does not pull punches. The gore and the violence were so graphic and realistic, and that’s pretty much my bread and butter. I know a horror movie is doing its job when I physically recoil in my seat, and that happened multiple times during Get Out.
The other thing that surprised me about Get Out were the amazing performances. First of all, I wasn’t expecting to see Catherine Keener in this film, but she did a fucking amazing job as a creepy, ominous “villain” I guess you could say. Her presence was always noticed, and even when she was being nice you could tell that there was something brewing under the surface. The same goes for the rest of the family as well, except for Rose (played by Alison Williams). Just when I thought I had this movie figured out we find out that Rose was actually a double-agent all along and my mind was fucking blown. The character of Rose was such a good actor, I guess that means that Allison Williams gave a good performance? I mean, there was nothing that really stood out to me about her performance because up until the reveal she was just your average clueless character. I would have to go back and watch the film to see if there are any subtle hints toward he true motives, but as it stands the majority of her performance was pretty bog-standard. I will say that after the reveal, she did a great job at playing one of the creepiest women I have ever seen on screen. She was like what all of those creepy little girl ghosts from every movie ever would look like before they died. It was fucking insane. Really the stars of the film in my eyes are all of the people who played the “victims” in the movie. I guess you could call them that. I’m talking about all of the black characters. There are moments in the film where little hints of emotion come through the facade that these characters are living, and these moments show how talented these actors are. The deep sadness and confusion that can only be seen in their eyes is something that is not hard to accomplish, but every single one of them did a great job with it. And this goes double for Chris, played by Daniel Kaluuya, who not only had these emotional moments but also played the kick-ass protagonist like he was fucking born to do it. The cast in Get Out definitely adds to why this movie was so fucking great.
The last thing I want to talk about is the alternate ending of the film, and why I think it is the better fit. For those who don’t know, the alternate ending starts with Chris killing Rose in the middle of the road. Then a cop car pulls up, but instead of Rod it is actually two police officers. The scene then cuts to Rod sitting in a prison visitation room, and Chris gets brought in on the other side of the glass in an orange jumpsuit. Rod asks Chris to explain the events to him one more time, but Chris declines saying something like “It’s over. I stopped him.”. Chris then gets escorted back to his cell and the film cuts to black. This ending, in my opinion, fits with what the film was setting up in the first place. I’m going to say something that might blow your mind, but Get Out had a lot of undertones of racism. I know, right? It’s crazy but it’s true. We see these earnest moments pop up throughout the film like when the cop asks for Chris’ license, or when Chris first meets Rose’s family. These moments made it clear that Chris, as a black man, knew that the world treats him differently. That’s why it made sense for me to end the movie with the dude who was the victim get taken to jail anyway, just because of the colour of his skin. If you want to go even further, the perfect ending (in my opinion) would have been if the cops showed up and shot Chris. Think about it: two cops get a call from a rich white family. They pull up to the scene and find a black dude with his hands around the neck of a now deceased rich white woman. They are not going to fucking run up and tackle him and put him in handcuffs; they are going to shoot him dead and then claim later that he was charging at them with a knife or some shit. I don’t claim to know better than Jordan Peele, but to me this is where the film was leading. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the ending we got, we get that one last bout of relief when Rod gets out of the car. But I just feel like the alternate ending gave more closure to the real story that was being told; the one about racism.
Overall I thought Get Out lived up to all of the praise that it has been given since its release. It managed to brilliantly deliver a lot of comedy while still creating a terrifying atmosphere that sucks you in completely. The performances were great, the writing was great, and the film keeps you guessing until the very end. All in all, Get Out is a real winner.
I give Get Out an A