Get Out Review: A Smart, Modern Horror Classic
Director: Jordan Peele
Cast: Allison Williams, Keith Stanfield, Daniel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Stephen Root, Lil Rel Howery, Marcus Henderson, Caleb Landry Jones, Betty Gabriel
Running Time: 104 mins
Release Date: March 17th, 2017
As sharply satirical as it is scary and easily jumping from laugh out loud moments to edge of the seat tension, Jordan Peele has crafted one of the best modern horror films to come around for a long time. The writer/director’s debut is a tension building, crazy until the end experience. Perfectly cast, with a terrific soundtrack and a smart script, GET OUT is a revelation.
One half of the popular sketch-comedy duo KEY & PEELE, Jordan Peele has already proved himself adept at showing the stigmas attached to black masculinity and the casual racism encountered in everyday life, all the while lampooning it with a smile on his face. In GET OUT, he gets to go even further, amplifying what is already a unnerving situation, meeting your in-laws for the first time, and heightens it to increasingly horrifying heights.
Chris, a young African-American man, is visiting his Caucasian girlfriends family for the first time, a wealthy upper-class family who live in a grand lake house. His girlfriends parents, played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener with nervy energy, are a neurosurgeon and hypnotherapist, while their son, Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones), merely stalks around the house, demonstrating his wrestling moves on Chris at inappropriate times. Chris can’t shake the feeling something is off, especially when it comes to their groundskeeper and housemaid, who act like Stepford wife-zombies and just so happen to be the only other African-Americans in the area.
Taking a sharp, satirical jab at the kind of casual racism encountered often, Peele gets laughs in early and often, as Chris wanders around the family’s house, encountering guests at a party who are fascinated by him, from talk of Obama (“I would have voted for him a third time if I could”) to embarrassing utterances of casual slang (Bradley Whitfords constant use of “My man” switches from underlying creepiness to casualness so fast it’s hard to differentiate). And as events slowly spiral out of control and Jordan builds to a reveal, the film only gets crazier, leaving behind most, but not all, of the comedy to dive headfirst into horror territory.
It’s because of Peele’s slowly building tension that the film gets more and more uncomfortable but not to the detriment of the characters. This is an often unseen entity; a smart horror film that doesn’t treat the audiences like fools. Characters react to the things around them, Chris especially as he tries to take charge of the situation unraveling around him. This is a precise, thought out premise and, without giving too much away, it’s refreshing to see a mainstream horror film get as weird as the film does it in it’s later stages (whatever you think is happening in the film, it’s not).
Maintaining a steady course through its running time, the film only slips up when Chris’s friend, Rod, get’s involved. Providing seriously funny comic relief but also threatening to throw the film off balance, his scenes play more like an extended sketch that wouldn’t be out of place in KEY & PEELE. Still, GET OUT is as smart and scary as they come, bringing a freshness to the horror genre and announcing Jordan Peele as someone to watch.
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