Like many of you, I have been a fan of Jordan Peele since his MADTV days. Sketch comedy is a passion of mine and he always had me laughing and/or thinking. I was devastated to learn in 2015 that Key & Peele came to an end, and hoped that any new projects would come soon. Imagine my delight when I learned that Get Out would be horror! And not even a horror-comedy but a straight up scary movie, and from Blumhouse no less!
I sat in a packed theatre on opening night, full of people just as excited as I was. What followed was a film with great pacing, solid acting, substance, creepiness and discomfort, just the right amount of gore, flawless comedic relief and effective jump scares.
The main characters in Get Out are real and well done. Betty Gabriel and Marcus Henderson as house “help” Georgina and Walter gave me the shivers more than once. I have to say my favourite character in the film was Stephen Root’s Jim Hudson, a blind gallery owner. Genre fans may be familiar with him as Eddie Gauthier from True Blood, but he has also been in so many other fantastic things and he always creates a memorable character. Daniel Kaluuya (who you may remember from Fifteen Million Merits, a fascinating episode of Black Mirror) as Chris is one of the most likeable people on the planet Earth (also like his Black Mirror character). The scariest person in this film to me was Catherine Keener’s Missy Armitage. I never want to hear someone stirring a cup of tea ever again. Ever. LilRel Howery as Chris’ best friend Rod is a much needed and funny dose of reality (a mouthpiece for what the audience is thinking) in the surreal happenings of the Armitage country home.
One thing I kept wondering to myself is how Chris was able to stay so calm throughout a large part of the weirdness. Particularly the first day or so of his stay at the Armitage’s, he seemingly chalks up the odd and off-putting behaviours to it the awkwardness of meeting the girlfriend’s parents. Perhaps the point is that he is used to feeling out of his element and like others don’t know how to act around him. I am pretty sure I would have tried to leave halfway through that first night. But that wouldn’t make a good movie, would it?
By now you have probably read an article or two about the movie and its big theme of race. I don’t feel qualified to expound on it as there are others who can do it much better. In case you haven’t had the chance, there is this article from the Guardian, this one from attn: and this other good read also from the Guardian. That a horror film has social commentary running through it is kind of a big deal.
I think this is a big deal because so often horror is not necessarily about anything. It exists to scare, but I feel this is a narrow view of a genre that can do so much more. Horror media has often been a showcase for what is subconsciously scaring us at that time. For example, in times of war it is often the idea of “the other”. Get Out is scary for some of us because it is an honest and true reflection of society that we don’t want to see. We are not ready to recognize just how terrifying our own thoughts, words and actions can be. Get Out also highlights what a whole other group of people find scary right now: being picked out for our physical attributes and subsequently being made powerless due to them. Th film is an opportunity to face these issues. Or at least talk about them.
According to this article (SPOILERS CONTAINED) from Bloody Disgusting, there was to be a darker (read: more realistic and expected) ending to Get Out. There are obviously good arguments for the alternative ending, it being a horror movie and all. Personally, I am glad that it has the ending it does. There were numerous bouts of cheering in the theatre I was in as it unfolded, and deservedly so. Here is my tweet from right after I saw the film:
Get Out is a well-put-together film from a man I highly admire. The talent is consistent and performances never detract from the tone of the film (as we know they sometimes can). It avoids so many things that can make a horror fan sad, and for that we thank you, Mr Peele.