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REVIEW: Get Out

A bold take on horror, Get Out seems to have somehow paved a whole new path for this genre, which has usually stepped away from social issues, except perhaps in the case of films like the recent series Purge. It turns out that the latter is produced by Blumhouse, the same company behind Get Out and Shyamalan’s Split.

&Written and directed by Comedy Central’s Jordan Peele, Get Out tells the story of an interracial couple, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams), who go to visit the girl’s parents for a weekend. Chris, who has his doubts about how the parents will react to Rose dating a black man (“don’t want to be chased in the front yard with a shotgun”), finally agrees to go meet them.

Considering that it is Peele’s first film, the way he masters horror language is surprising. This is even more so if we take into account that he’s telling a disturbing tale of racism with a well-delivered satirical tone. Setting itself apart from many films of this genre such as the slasher classic Blood Rage with Louise Lasser, a film in which the late Chad Brown also appeared, Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, or Scream, Get Out seeks not only to scare and entertain, but also reflect upon a conflictive issue. As we can predict from the movie’s opening scene, in which a black man is snatched off of the street of a posh suburban neighborhood right after telling himself “not today, not me…”, the main character is likely to face a series of obstacles while visiting his girlfriend’s hometown. In fact, right from the moment he meets the parents, something seems to be off. What’s brilliant about the slow build-up towards chaos is that the viewer, and Chris for that matter, doesn’t know if the parents’ strange attitude is based on not knowing how to interact with him, which reflects an unresolved issue, or if there is something else underlying their suspicious behaviors. Together, with the black gardener and housemaid’s robotic-psychotic attitudes, tension is there right from the start. Most of the performances are also quite good as are the more allegorical scenes, like when Chris and Rose hit a reindeer on their way to the parents’ house and Chris feels a strange connection to the animal. As we discover later on, it probably reminds him of his mother (who was the victim of a hit and run) and so it becomes a strong symbol throughout the whole movie.

Milton “Lil Rel” Howery, Chris’ friend Rod who works as a TSA agent, provides much-needed comic relief and also helps the film keep its well-chosen satirical tone. The rest of the performances are as disturbing as they are good, but Daniel Kaluuya stands out most and is fantastic during the most dramatic, violent, horrific, and funny moments of the movie.

In spite of its unusualness in the horror section, Get Out is quite scary, mostly because of the story it tells, which is connected to reality, but also because of the way in which it is told. We certainly hope to see much more from Jordan Peele after this ingenious, directorial debut. The new age horror Get Out certainly gets it right.

 

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