Full disclaimer, before you read my review of a horror movie: this is the first and only horror film I’ve ever seen. Call me crazy, but being scared is not something I enjoy choosing to do, and to me, films that get inside your head are even worse than jump scares. I tend to stew on movies, like to think about them for days after, and I definitely lost some sleep the night after I saw this. So I may not know my genre, but I know a good movie when I see one, and Get Out certainly was a good movie.
Get Out follows Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a young African-American man visiting his girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) parents for the first time, but things take a turn for the creepy when their annual family party seems to be a cover up for something much more sinister. To say anything more than that would be doing disservice to Jordan Peele’s masterful storytelling; he so cleverly layers small reveals and clues throughout the entire film, so much so that the end reveal is enormous, the perfect mixture of surprising and satisfying, and definitely horrifying, building slowly from discomfort to gore. Maintaining a palpable level of tension and unease the entire way through, with even the opening scenes making you uncomfortable in anticipation, Peele laces the perfect amount of comedy through his racially charged thriller, serving both as relief in the moments where it’s desperately needed, and to heighten the tension it so effectively foils against.
Not that you would expect anything less than brilliant humour from the latter half of Key and Peele, but Get Out is by no means a comedy. In his directorial debut, Jordan Peele shows incredible skill and control in his subtle storytelling, paying homage to the genre with his classic, Psycho-esque score, but making Get Out stand out through not just its gripping mystery, but also its racial commentary. The film explores the modern African-American experience in what feels like a period setting, mashing tradition and modernity together through horror and filmmaking tropes to suggest that racism hasn’t really changed over the last 50 years, or even longer.
From Get Out’s relatively indie cast comes Daniel Kaluuya as an absolute breakout as Chris Washington, driving the tension and discomfort as well as being an incredibly memorable horror main character. Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford and Caleb Landry Jones are incredibly intense as the super creepy Armitages, taking Meet the Parents to an entirely new level, and Lil Rel Howery is a scene stealer as Rod, Chris’ TSA-working best friend. But the film’s strongest voice is its director, and with Key and Peele (sadly) no longer doing their comedy show, we can only hope for more films from Jordan Peele.
Thought Get Out doesn’t make me want to go out and watch every single horror movie that’s released in theatres, it does interest me in finding some of cinema’s greater horror films and finally giving them a try. But this was because it was so good, and successful at scaring me, that I wonder if any others will either be a disappointment or make me that uncomfortable again. Its gripping story, brilliant cast and twisted visuals made for an enthralling experience, and if all horror films were as good as this, maybe I’d watch a few more.
After seeing Get Out, I have decided to try out the horror genre! So here is five classic/seminal horror films I’m going to try my hand out:
- The Blair Witch Project
- Lights Out