Review: “Get Out” Lives Up To the Hype
I am an opponent of people talking up any movie. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it (see any conversation I’ve ever had about ‘The Witch’) but that doesn’t mean I appreciate it any more. I can recall a moment when Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” had hit theaters and a group of my friends had already seen the movie. They wanted to go see it again — this is how good they believed it was — and to talk me into it they proceeded to tell me how amazing it was. “One of the best action movies ever,” my friend’s voice echoes in my mind every so often. Needless to say I was severely underwhelmed for over three hours. I wasn’t sure, at the time, if it was because of all the lip service from my friends or if it was truly a bad movie. Then I re-watched it and it was as bad as I thought it was. Especially the last line where Jack Black says to a bunch of strangers without any hint of irony, “This time, beauty killed the beast.” Yuck.
One thing I do love, however, is horror movies. Even the really bad ones (for the most part) have an endearing quality about them. I’m sure that endearing quality is just giving me the opportunity to make fun of them in between pulls off of my beer, but that’s still worth something. All I had heard about “Get Out” before it even released in a theater near me was how awesome it was. People saying, “One of the best rated movies on Rotten Tomatoes.” That’s a huge honor for a horror flick but I will admit the genre, because of the fresh voices that are lending their talents to it, is starting to get a lot more respect than it used to. Still: why did I have to hear how good the film was before I had the chance to even go see it? Now I’m going into it looking for everything about it that isn’t the best thing ever. Any little slip-up will give me ammo for a review. I will be the voice that tears it from the throne others have put it on using only brilliant points and facts about the movie that my intense scrutiny uncovered.
I’m here to report: “Get Out” is a good horror movie. A clever, poignant, sometimes funny film that adds yet another strong addition to the horror family and helps bring more credibility to the genre. A lot of people will go watch it because Jordan Peele (Key and Peele) wrote and directed it. But don’t think the characters are going to be complaining about their significant other with phrases like, “And I said biiiiiiitch”. No. This is a strong horror movie with dashes of comedy that isn’t out of place but strengthens the believability of its characters. On the surface you have the white parents, Dean and Missy Armitage (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener), who are trying almost too hard to impress their daughter Rose’s boyfriend Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) with phrases like, “I would have voted for Obama for a 3rd term if I could have” and her brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) who’s definitely odd but may ultimately mean well but just suffering from Asperger Syndrome. Even while things are more than friendly, however, the tense “on guardness” Chris has about him adds a tension that builds slowly and will eventually rise to a boil. While watching the movie, you don’t know if he’s being this way because he’s in a situation where the people surrounding him don’t get him but are trying way too hard to or if there really is something off about the whole thing, or both. Obviously it’s a horror movie so there’s definitely something off, and Jordan Peele doesn’t try to trick you into really believing something else. This isn’t a mystery you have to crack yourself, all the answers will come to light. The way in which they do though is what makes “Get Out” an entertaining and original horror flick.
Missy is a hypnotist of sorts and Dean is a neurosurgeon. They are a well-off family that live on a secluded estate. Perfect setting for a horror film. They’re jovial and friendly, but it isn’t until Chris realizes they have African-American help that act like characters in the “The Stepford Wives” taking care of the property that he feels like maybe there is something more to this perfect family. The closer he gets to the truth, the closer the reality of the situation gets to him, and it becomes evident that this will not be a relaxing vacation to meet the girlfriend’s parents.
I love how Jordan Peele uses subtle actions and subplots to really bring everything together. The one I focused on the most was the fact that Chris was trying to quit smoking — especially since Rose’s parents seem to hate it more than the average naysayer. I’ve been through that difficult process and it makes it hard to sleep, gives you vivid dreams you could swear were real, and changes your behavior drastically. It’s interesting the way Peele uses this to almost make you doubt Chris’s view on what’s going on; it may all just be symptoms of quitting the addictive habit and not what is really happening. Or, at the very least, influencing the way in which he handles situations.
Great acting, unbearable tension, small moments of comedic relief, a strong story, and a lot of blood. All of these things make “Get Out” a strong directorial debut for Jordan Peele and push Daniel Kaluuya into leading man territory. I know I said I hate when people build up a movie before others get the chance to see it, but I strongly believe that this film lives up to the hype and you won’t be disappointed.