Wow. This movie looks… weird.
Unless the movie is planning to pull the rug out from under me, which it probably is, the story looks like an interracial couple, black man and white girl, visiting her wealthy parents. They arrive and are met with well-meaning people, but possibly unintentional racism. But then things get passive-aggressive, and even downright weird as the black workers on her parents’ large estate begin to act in an unusual behavior, possibly due to the mother’s expertise on hypnosis, which she uses on the black guy, and he begins to see and do things that he normally wouldn’t. I’m calling it out right now, the girlfriend is in on it. I say the acting looks pretty awesome and the atmosphere looks like it’s going to dripping with discomfort, but unless the psychological trippiness doesn’t have a spectacular pay off, it’s probably not going to be as good as it looks.
Well, let’s take a look at the cast. Starring, we have Daniel Kaluuya, known for SICARIO (2015), KICK-ASS 2 (2013), and JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN (2011), and he will be in the upcoming film BLACK PANTHER (2018). Next, we have Allison Williams, known for TV shows GIRLS, a few episodes of THE MINDY PROJECT, and a couple episodes of AMERICAN DREAMS. Next, Catherine Keener, known for BEGIN AGAIN (2013), PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF (2010), and BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (1999). Finally, is the ever entertaining Bradley Whitford, known for I SAW THE LIGHT (2016), THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (2012), and TV show TROPHY WIFE.
Now for the crew. Writing and directing is Jordan Peele. Yes, that Jordan Peele, of the popular KEY AND PEELE, as well as such films as KEANU (2016) and STORKS (2016). This marks his directorial debut. Congrats, sir. While I’m always going to pay attention to actors who decide to go behind the camera, I have to admit that I’m a little skeptical of this man doing something, not just dramatic, but bordering on horror. He’s an extraordinarily funny man, but scary? This… should prove to be educational, in a sense. Composing the music is Michael Abels, also making his debut… in Hollywood in general, I think. His IMDb page lists this as the only thing he’s done. Not even TV, shorts, nothing of that nature. Once again, congrats, sir. Finally, the cinematographer is Toby Oliver, known for THE DARKNESS (2016) and is slated to compose for INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 4 (2017).
Overall, I think the movie looks decent. Plenty of creepy imagery and solid acting, but I get this sinking feeling that it’s not going to be as good as it looks. I guess we’ll see.
This is my honest opinion of: GET OUT
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is black and is in a relationship with Rose (Allison Williams), who’s white. They’re about to meet Rose’s parents. Despite his hesitations that her parents don’t know that he’s black, she doesn’t think it will matter and Chris goes with it. When they arrive, it’s clear that the parents mean well, but they say things that can be considered racist, even though it’s clearly not the attention. But the longer Chris and Rose stay in the house, the more obvious that there’s something wrong. After it’s revealed that Rose’s mother, Missy (Catherine Keener), can hypnotize, and the help around their home acts strangely, Chris longs to leave sooner than later, especially after he suspects that Missy hypnotized him.
Oh good, my entrée of my-words has arrived me to eat. And look, my side of I’m-sorry-for-doubting-Peele is cooked absolutely perfectly. This is destined for cult classic status and for good reason. This is a fun and smart satire of the horror genre.
Alright, so this is definitely a different kind of horror movie. It’s, like, half psychological and half straight-up mystery. One would think they go pretty hand in hand, but I say that psychological films aren’t about the audience figuring out what the movie is building up to. It’s more about the trippy experience and possible visuals while playing detective is secondary, whereas mysteries are the opposite, focusing more on the mystery and solving it rather than the visuals. This is a unique mix of the two genres and they mix extremely well.
The trippy and flashy visuals are few. You know, the shots of someone sinking into the floor, or falling into a black abyss, those things. It’s more focused on those close-ups of big, crying eyes with smiles. Especially from Georgina, played by Betty Gabriel. The creep factor is uncanny when they’re on the screen. Don’t get me wrong, the parents who are “unintentionally” racist add a great level of tension and unease, which is another area this movie excels at: discomfort. There is never a moment in this movie that you’re sitting comfortably in your seat. Whether it’s because of the blatant racial tension and treatment of the black characters, or because of the creepiness of what’s happening to them and why they act so strange. This entire movie is engaging and you’re interested in seeing what happens and to see these characters end up okay.
But when it’s not being a freaky little mind-fuck, it’s got a great sense of humor, particularly from Rod, played by Lilrel Howery. There is actually a fair amount of self-awareness. There’s always a comment at the ready for everything that’s about to happen. Black guy about to go into the mansion-sized home of a rich family with black help? Rod’s there to quip about it and later tell Chris that he told him so. Honestly, the humor is one of the highlights.
Also, let’s address the controversy that… I honestly only recently discovered was surrounding this movie. The film is being marked as “anti-white” and “racist.”
Personally… I wouldn’t know how to argue that. I mean, if you really look at this film from start to finish… yeah, there’s an awful lot of white people bad guys in this movie and an awful lot of black people victims in slave-type roles. I seriously don’t know how to defend this film on that account. But am I honestly looking deep into my soul and believing that Peele is racist and anti-white? Hell no. Peele is a comedian. Comedians, BY NATURE, say offensive things even though most of them have no prejudices. They have to. That’s the nature of comedy: addressing an unpleasant topic and giving a comedic spin. The unpleasant topic (or one of them): the age-old cliché of black people dying first in horror films. The comedic spin: a majority of the white people die and a majority of the black people live. Hell, you can even push it to that in usual horror films, the main protagonist is a bland white girl who, but this movie has a bland black guy. So, I take it back, I think it’s very easy to defend this movie. I do not believe that this movie is anti-white, I do not believe that it’s racist, and anyone who is offended by this movie has no idea what this movie is or what its intentions are.
I suppose if I had any real nitpick about the movie, it’s not surprising in the direction it goes. While the story was unraveling, I was already predicting who was hypnotized, who was in on it, and one of my predictions was that Rose was part of the neighborhood secrets, so when the twist happened, I wasn’t entirely surprised. For a film that was oozing with mystery and suspense, none of it took me for a loop. But that really is a nitpick. The satisfaction of everyone in this family dying was pretty intense, so the wasted mind-blow resulted a strong, highly enjoyable ending.
There’s plenty of things I would do differently if I wrote this, but then it wouldn’t be nearly as clever, so I’m glad I didn’t. Some solid performances all around, a fun sense of humor, and some unsettling imagery made this a real blast to sit through. I recommend it only if you know what this movie is. If you understand that it’s a satire of horror tropes and are open to what it done with it, then I think you’ll enjoy this movie just fine. I sure did. Despite a nitpick or two, I’d say I don’t have any legitimate problems with the overall product given to me. Well done, Mr. Peele, I look forward to another outing with you helming the project.
My honest rating for GET OUT: 5/5