Get Out | Jordan Peele | 2017 | USA | 103 min | Horror | Mystery
For the first two acts of Get Out, first-time writer/director Jordan Peele (best known for the Comedy Central skit show Key & Peele) shows a decent amount of skill in creating a generally creepy, unsettling atmosphere, and instilling within us a genuine feeling of unease, as he sets up the story of Chris, a young black photographer meeting his white girlfriend’s parents for the first time, as he spends a weekend at their large, seemingly idyllic suburban home. Some awkward, possibly unintentional racial tension happens between Chris, the family, and their stuffy, upper-class neighbors (almost all white themselves, of course), but nothing really out-and-out threatening happens during this part of the film, and save for the occasionally disconcerting moment, you could almost fool yourself into thinking that Get Out is basically just a 2017 remake of Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?.
That is, except for the continually odd behavior of all the other black people in the neighborhood, including Walter, the landscaper, Georgina, the family housekeeper, and Logan, a neighbor married to a white woman much, much older than himself, as all of them either act nothing like “black people”, or just nothing like people, period. The two domestic servants behave like, well, a white person’s idea of how a black servant should act, unfailingly chipper and docile towards everyone else, but in a way that’s incredibly stiff and unnatural at the same time, as if there’s something just underneath their surface just screaming to get out, which hints at a 3rd act twist that I genuinely didn’t see coming at all whatsoever (hint: it’s not the twist you guess at first, believe me).
[spoiler]Which brings me to the bonkers final act of the film, which is gory, over-the-top, B-Horror fun, and helps to retroactively justify everything that happened before it. Don’t get me wrong, as, like I wrote earlier, Peele does do a pretty good job with the surprisingly subdued beginning and middle of the film, which, for basic story reasons, just wouldn’t have worked in a more in-your-face style (an early jump scare involving an animal is more Peele awaringly mocking the tendency of Horror hacks to put such unnecessary scares in their films, rather than him being such a hack himself). That being said, even though the overall film is less than 2 hours, the pacing early on is still a bit too slow at times, with a reliance on a somewhat vague atmosphere of unease, with few concrete story developments happening, all of which are elements that could’ve contributed to a disappointing film if the finale didn’t end up delivering on the overall potential of the experience.
However, like I said, the 3rd act of the film does end up delivering, throwing us a relatively novel story curveball that makes us reassess everything we’ve seen up to that point, while simultaneously balancing that out with the bloody, shocking jolts we’ve been waiting for, but in a way that prevents the movie from becoming mindless schlock, as the visceral horrors are happening side-by-side onscreen at the same time as the intriguing new story details are developing, sharing space with them and adding a whole new dimension to the overall experience.[/spoiler] In the end, Get Out isn’t a perfect film, as it obviously took a while to start clicking with me, and if you wanna nitpick, a certain comedy relief supporting character sticks out like he’s a sore thumb left over from an unaired sketch on Peele’s old show, but it’s ultimately pretty skilled, scary material, and am now wondering who else in the TV skits world could possibly break out into Horror films; someone from SNL, start working on a ghost movie, asap!