Not a film to be watched if you're looking to relax and unwind, Get Out is one of the best psychological horror's of recent years, that will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.
Get Out has been the most surprising box office smash of the year so far. Made on an extremely modest budget (for a Universal Pictures film) of $4.5 million, Jordan Peele’s directorial debut has already grossed more than $130 million in it’s opening week and looks set to increase upon that figure by a great deal.
Get Out achieved something which is extremely rare for a film released in the modern day, scoring a perfect 100% score, from over 100 critics on movie-review site Rotten Tomatoes™ (it has since dropped to 99% from over two hundred reviews). The film’s issues of liberal racism, alongside it’s mysterious, slow-burning premise, have proved to be a hit with audiences and critics alike.
The film follows the story of Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a young black man, who is an aspiring photographer. After five months of dating his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), he goes with her to the family home to meet her parents. Chris is apprehensive about the fact that Rose has not told her parents that he is black, however, this is seemingly unwarranted, as upon arrival he is greeted with a warm reception and the colour of his skin appears to be no issue at all. However, all is not as quaint as it seems; the only other black people at the home are the two-house workers, whose bizarre behaviour is unsettling. Strange events begin to slowly unravel, until the annual Armitage get-together takes place, where an assortment of questionable individuals arrive and things begin to take a dark turn.
It might be surprising to some that this is Jordan Peele’s first venture in the director’s chair, Peele handles it with such professionalism that he could pass for a veteran of the trade. The director immediately establishes the tone of the film which is sustained throughout. On the surface, everything appears as it should when meeting a partner’s family for the first time. However, Peele successfully plants subtle elements in various scenes; a stare lasting a second too long, or, an out of place comment is enough to unease the viewer just the right amount and to make the concerns for Chris continually grow throughout.
The cinematography is well-managed, with the framework being very successfully implemented. Chris appears in many shots alone, highlighting his isolation in the unfamiliar, white-washed setting. Our empathy for Chris gets greater and greater, as the discomfort and paranoia he experiences becomes visceral to the audience too. Peele has proved himself to be a more than capable filmmaker, producing a film which is not only aesthetically pleasing but also capable of eliciting chosen emotions within the viewer.
Get Out is a film driven by the director, rather than the characters. With that being said, all of the cast give exceptional performances, Daniel Kaluuya, arguably, gives his best performance to date as Chris. The Armitage family are all wonderfully cast; Catherine Kenner and Bradley Whitford are terrifically unnerving as Rose’s parents, who are at their best during the extremely uncomfortable dinner scene. Caleb Landry Jones also gives a good turn as the unhinged brother with an uncomfortable curiosity in Chris’s genetic make-up.
Despite its many strong qualities, Get Out is not perfect. The film’s extremely strong build up raises expectations for there to be a spectacular finale that isn’t there. Though it is by no means a poor conclusion, once the film moves beyond the point of speculation and anticipation, it just doesn’t quite manage to regain the ability to keep your eyes fixated to the screen as it did when questions were still unanswered. Also, the choice of casting LilRel Howery as Chris’ best friend, Rod does not seem to fit well within the film. Howery is added for comedic value, and whilst his scenes are amusing, their overall effect is jarring to the more serious, suspenseful tone of the film.
Get Out is a film of many triumphs, which are fully capable of outweighing the minor flaws, in order to produce unnerving psychological horror, which will have you digging your fingernails deeper into the arms of your chair with each passing scene, whilst loving every minute of it.
Get Out (2017), Directed by Jordan Peele, is Distributed in the UK by Universal Pictures, Certificate 15