Get Out is about African-American photographer Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) who travels with his caucasian girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) to meet her parents at their estate. While there, he notices the black maid and groundskeeper acting very peculiarly and eventually comes to suspect that he has been hypnotized by Rose’s mother (Catherine Keener). The parents soon host a well attended party where the predominantly white guests seem to take a certain interest in Chris.
Usually with horror films, I can appreciate the craft involved without actually being scared and there are only a few, if any, that I can actually call scary. But I will readily admit that Get Out is genuinely frightening and unsettling, high praise from one who is constantly unfazed by the horror genre. The most chilling parts come from the hypnosis sequences, especially “the sunken place”, as those sequences are disturbing and very effectively, chillingly shot. There is perhaps only a single jump scare throughout as the whole film keeps its focus on creating a genuinely unsettling, scary atmosphere.
The film begins excellently with a delightfully wicked kidnapping scene set to Flanagan and Allen’s ” Run Rabbit Run” (which I didn’t have to look up since I mentioned it last year in my Miss Peregrine review!) and this wonderful pre-credits scene sets the tone brilliantly, introducing both chills and a twisted sense of humour; I was certainly smiling as the credits started to roll!
And on that note, there is a fair amount of dark humour that fits in perfectly to the film. Saying that though, there is plenty of conventional humour, coming pretty much 100% from Lil Rel Howery who plays Chris’ best friend Rod; his theories of “sex slave hypnosis” illicited plenty of laughs from the audience and through this, the film retains a very decent amount of both comedy and horror. Rod is indeed a welcome addition to the film since he sometimes plays the fool, the best friend who’s a bit outrageous, but actually he’s pretty smart and ends up playing a crucial role in the film, not just there for comic relief.
The film is very well directed by Jordan Peele in his feature debut as both writer and director; his direction is effective, using plenty of close up shots to create a tense, claustrophobic atmosphere as well as directing the aforementioned hypnosis scenes with imagination and panache. His script is also particularly laudable; the story is original, the dialogue is flawless and generally, the writing hits all the right notes.
It’s also worth mentioning that the “bingo scene” didn’t initially make sense to me, I wondered what it was all about, but while thinking about it later on, I realised the significance of that scene and realised just how clever and impressive the film, particularly the writing, was.
Daniel Kaluuya, of Black Mirror, Psychoville and Sicario fame, is excellent in the leading role, delivering a pitch perfect performance and, what I’m assuming is, a flawless American accent. There really isn’t much I can say, his performance just hits all the right notes and in addition, Allison Williams does very well in her feature film debut (apparently she was in Girls?) A great deal of fright is also achieved by the creepy supporting performances, in particular that of Catherine Keener, Caleb Landry Jones, Betty Gabriel and Stephen Root (as well as certain others); the ensemble cast deliver some properly sinister performances and are a huge boon to the film.
As well as The Stepford Wives, which was apparently a major source of inspiration for Peele, Get Out also has a Rosemary’s Baby vibe about it, given its central “community” of apparently affable people who may he harbouring some dark secrets, and in the final act I was immediately reminded of The Skeleton Key, for reasons that I don’t think I can mention for fear of spoilers. Oh, and after a certain major revelation, I found myself thinking of the family from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
While watching, I inevitably began to predict how the film would end, fearing that it would lead to a fairly obvious outcome, for which I was all set to mark it down a few points. Thankfully though, the film never went in a way that I was expecting and I was left guessing as every turn. Even in the very last scene, I was so sure that the film would end in a certain way, specifically thinking “well, we all know how THIS is gonna turn out!” but again, expectations were subverted and ultimately, Get Out follows its own path and is fresh and original.
Oh, and the people who called this movie “racist against white people” have no idea what they’re talking about.