An innovative & original breath of fresh air for the Horror genre, Get Out analyzes racial dynamics and psychological/body horror in a thrilling, thought-provoking, visceral way – while establishing Peele as a new directorial talent to watch. 9.1/10.
Plot Synopsis: Chris, a young black man, is dating a white girl and goes with her to visit her family in their lakehouse one weekend. As they get to their parents’ house, Chris realizes that something is off about it, both in the way her parents act, as well as the fact that they have black groundskeepers and maids who seem unnatural.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
“Jordan Peele?” “That guy from the comedy sketches and B-movies way back when?” “He’s making movies now?” “Better yet, horror movies?” On behalf of everyone who doubted Peele’s directing and genre chops from the start, let me say: we’re sorry. Get Out is one of the most refreshing and original films to come out of the Horror genre in years, says a lot about directorial match-finding since Peele clearly has here, and could not have been more welcome in the sea of countless slasher reboots and sequels currently flooding this once-golden but now bronzed/rusted genre. An innovative & original breath of fresh air for the Horror genre, Get Out analyzes racial dynamics and psychological/body horror in a thrilling, thought-provoking way, while establishing Peele as an exciting prodigious new directorial talent to watch.
Right from the opening scene, you feel you’re in for a treat and watching something you shouldn’t be. The abduction of Walter (Marcus Henderson of Atlanta fame) is great and well-offset by strangely happy music to immediately draw in and invest the viewer in the nightmare that’s about to unfold. What escalates from there is a cascade of psychological and body horror (as well as allegory on cultural appropriation and the horrors black people have faced across U.S. history) as good as we’ve seen since Invasion of the Body-Snatchers, and that has immense sociological and racial ramifications that are especially timely and important in this day-and-age.
The performances are absolutely sublime. Daniel Kaluuya gives a phenomenal, star-making performance indicatotive of serious acting talent and star calibur even more impressive noting it’s his first major role and important for the genre to seek out unknowns that have great things to give to the artform if only given the chance. Allison Williams’ split Rose, the suspicion-reeking Armitages, and Lil Rel Howery’s downright-hilarious TSA Rod all bolster the canvas as well with their performances, especially Howery as a nice and impressively-balanced comic relief blending in genres to make it even more wowing as a first film while also not losing its horror bite/edge. But Georgina‘s performance as the maid is particularly of note, giving off instantly-chilling and unsettling vibes climaxing in a breahtaking struggle to tell Chris to “Get o-” before the unknown-horror gets a hold of him too. Unbelievable.
Beyond that, the symbolism and message is timely and important, and plot is laid out in a classic-mystery and involving way requiring stark attention to unravel. This leads to thrilling pay-offs once it’s all revealed amidst delicious and stunning glimpses/teases given throughout like “Sink Into The Floor”. The Rose plot twist hits you like a brick and is great storytelling by any metric that boosts the credibility of Peele and success of the project even more. The meaning of the film is perhaps the most haunting and vital part though: the coveting of black bodies and almost jealousy racists and some whites have to use it as a tool or vehicle is an angle I, and likely most, never thought of before and brilliant dark insight into the truth of the African-American experience throughout America’s equally-dark slavery-riddled history. The body horror is also disturbing being what most would consider one of the scariest concepts: being not in control of yourself/body and having to watch someone else control you possibly for eternity or dark acts. The acting, setting, darkened mise-en-scene, structuring of the film, and unsettling soundtrack are all noteworthy and elevate it to top-tier horror level and easily one of the best horror films this decade.
The only flaw, although it’s major and a *huge* oversight that could’ve elevated it to masterpiece level but instead holds it back from true greatness: the ending. The somewhat-happy ending the film goes with is okay; thought it was a bit jarring/dissonant for that previously-dark a film when I first saw it but remains palatable since for most genres, happy endings are the norm. But when you learn about the alternate ending Peele decided to change out at the last minute, your head will explode due to its brilliance and how much more gamechanging it would have been. In the original ending now resorted to alternate one can see if you pick up the film on Blu-Ray/iTunes, after the debacle with Rose and escape from the Armitage’s by Chris, 2 white cops pull up in the police car we see approach. Instead of helping Chris having just been through serious psychological horror/torment, all they see is a black man attacking whites and claim he’s the victim, putting him in jail for the foreseeable future or even life where his only win is that he stopped the horror at the lake. My word, that gobsmacked me and would have been so much a more powerful and masterful ending playing on police racism and the ever-plight of the black man being even guilty when you’re innocent or the victim. I cannot fathom why this brilliant an ending was left out, and it’s a serious flaw going for the play-it-safe happy ending seemingly forgetting what genre it’s in instead of more artful and gut-punch of an ending.
A brilliant and original breath of fresh air for the increasingly-tired Horror that will hopefully signal a market shift to greenlighting more indie/independent idea-over-budget filmmaking, Get Out is the antidote to modern scares. Amazing performances, complex symbolism, racial messages, plot structure, and some of the best psychological/body horror this millennium are just some of the masterpiece achievements it boasts. The only flaw being the darker alternate ending that would’ve made the film even better and a huge disappointment they sold themselves short by going safer with the one we got, regardless, it’s safe to say: Peele has (triumphantly) arrived. A breath of fresh air for the Horror genre establishing a directorial talent-to-watch in Jordan Peele, Get Out explores the psychological and motivating undertones of racism in thrilling and intensely thought-provoking fashion.
Official CLC Score: 9.1/10