We Have A Review From A Screening Of Jordan Peele’s Horror GET OUT
As a big fan of Jordan Peele, one of the films I’m actually looking forward to this February is his upcoming horror film Get Out. The film was first teased at a secret midnight screening at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and the word was that is was a solid hit.
Well, here in NYC there was a screening a few days and miraculously a reader (Juan Martillo) who was able to attend, contacted the site and offered to write a review.
The film follows a young African American man who visits his white girlfriend’s family estate where he learns that many of its residents, who are black, have gone missing, and he soon learns the horrible truth when another frantic African-American warns him to “get out”. He soon learns this is easier said than done.
So read on to find out what Jordan Peele has in store for us.
Meeting your girlfriend’s parents is scary enough, but when they are a sick combination of the campy characters in The ‘Burbs and The Stepford Wives, well, let’s just say all bets are off.
In the new horror/thriller Get Out, Jordan Peele, of Key & Peele fame, unapologetically explores issues of race in unconventional ways while speaking to genre-loving audiences that are otherwise uninterested in political commentary. Showing remarkable talent and dexterity for a rookie director, Peele dives headfirst into modern complexities surrounding the social stigma of racism, and a creative argument about how whites are attempting to keep blacks at bay (or worse). He does this while skewering not the groups you’d expect—the Trump voters one stereotypes as racist—but the ones he believes need the most calling out—those individuals so liberal they would have voted for an Obama third term, but are, in his view, also inherently race conscious.
If you’ve seen the 60s’ classic “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” you know the basic premise of Get Out: a young girl brings her black boyfriend to meet her supposedly accepting parents, without first telling them her boyfriend is black, to, shall we say uncomfortable consequences. But the similarities end there. You don’t get the adorable Spencer Tracy or the emotionally torn Katherine Hepburn. Instead, you have Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford as Missy and Dean, the girl’s parents, and they are, eventually, the opposite of adorable or emotional.
Oh, sure, Missy and Dean are superficially welcoming, but it becomes clear almost immediately that their interest in the protagonist, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), is something other than to make him an in-law. In an effectively creepy Stepford manner, the two figures, eventually joined by their friends, neighbors, and even scarier son (played by Calen Landry Jones), ensnare Chris into something that will clearly not end well for the aspiring son-in-law.
Most brilliant about Get Out is Peele’s seemingly innate gift to weave in and out of comedy and suspense/horror. The whole point of the movie is to point out honestly and with no holds barred the way in which elites pat themselves in the back about their amazing colorblindness, while being deceptively but obviously not so. While many movies these days attempt to deal with stories about racism in the past or in ways that don’t make the core liberal supporters of Hollywood uncomfortable, this is the only movie you’ll see today that takes a different tactic. At a very minimum, you’ll find it refreshing in its directness.
But that it does all this as an effective horror film is even more impressive. The urban jungle of inner cities may be scary to the evildoers in this film, but the suburban enclaves in which they are allowed to dwell free and away from the “scary” black folk is, in a twist, doubly so. The slow-build chills are lifted by two bone-chilling performances by Marcus Henderson and Betty Gabriel as the black groundskeeper and housekeeper for Missy and Dean. Is it strange that all of their staff is black?
Is it Body Snatchers? Is it Stepford Wives? Something else? The movie does not keep you guessing for that long, but the one or two moments of genuinely surprising and effectively satisfying blood make up for the lack of prolonged suspicion. Beyond an effect social critique, this movie is also a genuinely scary horror movie.
Get Out’s biggest flaw is perhaps its third act—a quintessential problem for this genre. There, as things have gone really badly for Chris at his in-laws’, the film devolves into a jumble of scare scenes and chase moments, abandoning the brilliant incisiveness of the social commentary imbued in the first two thirds of the movie. It also no longer benefits from the inherent mystery that permeates the first portion, though the movie does keep you tense and confused until the closing moments. The intense thrill and heart-pounding action of the last few minutes will keep your eyes glued to the scene even if your brain is being given a breather.
In the end, Get Out is great in the simplicity of its central premise: whenever black men visit a white girl’s house, there is a built-in unease. What follows depends on the individuals. But, in Peele’s world and through a daring combination of satire, straight up humor, and fatidic horror, the winners and losers are always clear and predictable.
The depth of that loss—whether it be reprogramming, or simply the loss of limb—is a separate question. But you’ll do yourself good to find out through this deliciously wicked, mixed-genre piece, a bold and exciting first offering by a first-time filmmaker.
If you guys use this review plus use my name Juan Martillo
So there you have it, I’m sold and looking forward to seeing this film when it hits theaters.