Get Out (2017) Movie Review - Jordan Peele's Brilliant Blockbuster Horror

Horror, Drama, Thriller | 104 Min
Get Out (2017) Review
  • Director: Jordan Peele
  • Actors: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Catherine Keener
  • Writers: Jordan Peele
  • Producers: Jordan Peele, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr., Sean McKittrick
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English, Swahili
  • Parental: Violence, Gore, Injury To Animals, Language, Surgery Detail, Suicide
  • Horror, Drama, Thriller | 104 Min

A young African-American visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend where his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him eventually reaches a boiling point.

There’s less than a week left to go for our K-O-Ween 31 Days of Halloween feature. The spookiest of spooky days is getting closer and we are still going. Today we are taking a look at Jordan Peele’s 2017 Oscar winner Get Out. Often mentioned as one of the best horror movies of all time. Get Out subverts the traditional horror formula by presenting us with an African American protagonist and a group of white villains.

Created during a period in America where Barack Obama was in power and racial tensions had reared its ugly head, once again. Get Out aims to shine a light on a new type of racism; a type that is born through complacency and ignorance. A racism that exists within middle class Americans who claim to be liberal and vocally support African Americans despite harbouring quiet prejudice. It’s interesting stuff and very different for the horror genre. 

Psychological Horror with a Difference

Get Out follows young man Chris, played by Daniel Kaluuya, as he heads to his girlfriend’s childhood home to meet the family. Concerned about whether they will focus on the fact that he is African American. Rose, played by Allison Williams, tells him not to worry and that her family aren’t racist. In fact, Rose claims her father would have voted for Obama a third time if he could have. It’s only when the pair arrive at the house that Chris starts to notice that, despite the warm welcome, things don’t quite feel right. An instinct that will shortly be proven correct.

Get Out (2017) Review

Rose’s parents are middle class liberals with lots of money and not much insight.

Get Out is a psychological horror movie that approaches things from a slightly different perspective. Your standard horror movie protagonist it almost entirely oblivious to the danger they are in. They make stupid decisions, seem unaware of impending threats, and make all the wrong choices. Get Out changes this and presents us with a character who is fully aware. It is thoroughly compelling stuff throughout. Chris is a capable guy who knows he is at risk. He knows that something is going on. Chris is nobody’s fool and that is something we aren’t really used to in horror.

The fact that Chris is so clued into what is going on sets Peele the task of scaring the viewer in a different way. The horror here is pretty obvious, even the protagonist can see it. The fear factor comes from Chris’s inability to do anything about it. Peele takes a character that is more than capable and makes him helpless, against his will. It’s fascinating stuff and utterly refreshing. Much like the atypical backdrop of the movie – White middle America.

Holding Up a Mirror to Middle America

Get Out kicks off as a somewhat satirical look at liberal middle America and their worrying lack of insight when it comes to racial issues. Believing that voting Obama and enjoying African American music, artists, or athletes, means they can’t be racist. Get Out holds a mirror up to this group of people and turns them into terrifying villains with motivations that subvert what we have come to expect from these types of horror movies.

It’s brilliant and quite unexpected. The natural inclination would be to set Get Out in a southern US red state with a bunch of  overtly racist hicks. Get Out does not follow this blueprint at all. The movie feels as though it is set in a part of America that is, seemingly, much more progressive. Somehow creating an even scarier backdrop. The interactions are awkward and the cast’s overly enthusiastic admiration for African Americans is used to make the viewer suspicious and keep them on edge.

Get Out (2017) Review

Chris senses immediately that something is wrong with Georgina and Walter.

This constant praising and pointing out of the difference between Chris and the other people at the party is very reminiscent of a whole generation of people who call themselves allies on social media. Prodding and poking Chris while complimenting him, the guests almost demand that he worship them for their acceptance of him. It’s a deft reflection of the white saviour notion that so many people, nowadays, seem to be struck with. Considering many recent issues with regards to race, Get Out feels increasingly more timely and relatable. It’s horror for a modern age and horror for modern issues.

An Incredible Debut for Jordan Peele

The fact that this is Peele’s horror debut is, frankly, stunning. He directs with a style and confidence that usually only comes from years behind the camera. He clearly has a love for the horror genre and a keen knowledge of its history. Many of the shots in Get out are truly iconic. The pacing, as well, is perfect and you never once feel anything other than completely connected to the main character. This is a huge ask for even an experienced director but Peele nails it as though he has been doing it for years.

Get Out (2017) Review

Lesson: Never trust a person messing around inside your head.

I will point out that I say this with no bias. This is, actually, the only Jordan Peele project that I enjoyed. Peele’s follow up effort, Us, while an objectively great movie, didn’t do anything for me at all. The remake of Candyman, for which Peele had writing and production credits, is one of the absolute worst big name horror movies I have seen in a very long time. Sadly, I was insanely amped for both of these movies only to be hugely disappointed. Maybe his style is just not for me but, either way, Get Out is, without question, a great movie.

Mostly Great Acting

Acting, for the most part, is brilliant. Daniel Kaluuya as Chris is fantastically good. A nuanced and thoroughly believable performance leaves you nothing other than impressed. Kaluuya does an expert job of relating the awkwardness of Chris’s situation as well as his increasing feelings of unease and fear. There are a number of scenes that stand out as being particularly excellent and noteworthy. His ability to turn on emotion and express the way his character is feeling is very impressive.

Allison Williams, as Rose, is pretty much typical romcom girlfriend fodder for the most part. She gets a lot better toward the end, however. Bradley Whitford is excellent as Rose’s dad Dean and Catherine Keener does a decent job as Rose’s mum Missy. Side characters are generally brilliant. I loved Betty Gabriel’s performance as Georgina and Lakeith Stanfield as Logan was great.

I absolutely hated Caleb Landry Jones as Rose’s brother Jeremy. He had me cringing pretty hard with his low rent impersonation of Johnny Depp. I felt as though he very much stood out for being worse than everyone else. He honestly felt as though he was pulled from an entirely different type of horror movie.

Fantastic Cinematography

Cinematography is excellent. There are plenty of impressive shots here despite the bulk of the movie looking fairly simple. Some of the scenes are genuinely iconic and will remain in the minds of horror fans for years. The creativity on display is very easy to appreciate. There are also some interesting uses of depth to setup effective scares. One scene stands out, in particular, for this use of depth but I won’t spoil it.

Get Out (2017) Review

Get Out features some truly iconic scenes.

Sound production is also decent. There are some very fitting musical numbers that add nicely to the tension. There are also some scenes that will really reward you for having a decent sound system. We watched this movie once at the cinema and once at home via a projector with a surround sound system. I have to say, I think I preferred the home cinema setup. The sound is very immersive and the 2:39.1 aspect ratio fills your visual field perfectly, dragging you into the world kicking and screaming.

Not Hugely Scary and Somewhat Predictable

Get Out, by its very nature, is not a particularly scary movie. Chris is very different to your standard horror movie protagonist. He feels like a capable and aware person who is not at all fooled by what is going on. Get Out is horror made for people who scream at the stupidity of the characters on screen. He isn’t about to fall for the typical horror movie stuff and that does somewhat detract from the scares.

There are a few noteworthy scenes that will likely unsettle you. There are also a couple of situations that Chris finds himself in that are legitimately terrifying. Get Out isn’t trying to be a traditional horror, though. It is trying to mix things up and give the viewer a different kind of experience. The situation that Chris goes through is terrifying in itself. The reality of his predicament, when it is revealed, is genuinely horrifying.

I did find Get Out to be somewhat predictable in parts. It falls into cliché at times and it can be easy to see what is coming next. This isn’t a huge problem but I think it does have to be said. The director’s tendency to lean towards satire and comedy may put a few people off. In my opinion, however, it never feels too out of place. The movie is genuinely funny at times which does take away from the horror. Chris’ friend Rod, played by Lil Rel Howery, is legitimately hilarious and steals every scene he is in. Most of his lines were improvised, as well, which makes it all the more impressive. I enjoyed the humour and think that the movie would lack character without it.

Should You Watch Get Out?

You should definitely watch Get Out. It is one of the most refreshing horror movies in years. Jordan Peele’s debut is witty, clever and constantly compelling. While not particularly scary, the situation Chris finds himself in is terrifying. Some of the scenes here are absolutely iconic and the movie never lets up. Awesome stuff and well worth checking out for literally any horror fan.

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