Get Out (2017)

  • Time: 103 min
  • Genre: Horror | Mystery
  • Director: Jordan Peele
  • Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford

Storyline:

A young African American man visits his European American 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.

4 reviews

  • When I think of the words “get out”, I instantly revert back to that part in The Amityville Horror where a supernatural voice yells violently at the late Rod Steiger. Cut to 2017 and I’m now reminded of a movie with the same title as those infamous words.

    Get Out (my latest review) is directed by Jordan Peele. He’s actually a comedic actor by trade. His debut as a filmmaker, happens to be original in scope. Now when I mean original, that’s probably because I haven’t seen 1975’s The Stepford Wives yet. Supposedly, a few critics and Peele himself, saw “Wives” as an inspiration for Get Out. No matter. This vehicle despite having a lack of jump scares, still has enough juice to moderately creep you out.

    Premiering at Sundance Film Festival (via January of this year), harboring a budget of 4.5 million (most of it was spent on eye drops, ha), and dealing with themes of race, religion, and the occult, Get Out projects itself like a fright fest from the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. This is evident even though the flick clearly takes place in present day. There’s a scene where a cuckoo family appears on an old television set (in an in-house commercial no less). Then, you get some nostalgic, hair-raising music from Michael Abels (he mostly does orchestra works). Finally, there’s a hypnotism segment in which the main trouper “sinks into the floor” and is rendered paralyzed.

    Visually and audibly, Get Out is pretty evocative. Jordan Peele must have been using a special lens because he captures cinematic images that feel so 40 years ago.

    At 103 brief minutes, Get Out starts as a slow burn only to pick up variable speed. Its last act is bloody and sadly, it’s a little anti-climatic. Yeah the bad guys (and girls) get theirs but I wanted more of a deadening schism between a Twilight Zone parentage and their helpless prey. The story is as follows: Photographer Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend Rose Armitage (future star in the making Allison Williams), are visiting Rose’s parents at their lavish estate (Get Out was shot in various places in Alabama). Washington is African American. Armitage is Caucasian. What Chris doesn’t know is that Rose’s mom and pops plan on using pseudo-immortality on him. It’s all a setup. They are respectively, neurosurgeons and hypnotists and they want to plant the brain of their frail friend into his body. This will render Chris a vegetable and a person unable to function in their brought upon, comatose state.

    All in all, Get Out has a blatant twist, some mild comic relief from Washington’s best bud (Lil Rel Howery as Rod), and features the song, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” in a crowning moment towards the film’s conclusion. Man, you won’t look at Dirty Dancing the same way again (or bingo cards either but that’s another story). In truth, this is a nicely plotted, well crafted horror mystery that could’ve used some grander character development. Talk about a cinematic contradiction. Whatever. I’ll give Get Out a pass for Peele’s keen eye behind the camera. Rating: 3 stars.

    Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

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  • (RATING: ☆☆☆☆ out of 5)

    GRADE: B

    THIS FILM IS RECOMMENDED

    IN BRIEF: A scary but formulaic horror film that has more to say than just “Boo!”

    SYNOPSIS: An interracial couple visit the future in-laws with disastrous results.

    RUNNING TIME: 1 hr., 43 mins.

    JIM’S REVIEW: There is something decidedly off from the first moments of Get Out. An eerie feeling of dread and doom that follows its tale to its bloody ending. Critics have lauded comedian Jordan Peele’s mash-up of various film genres, calling it a satirical political horror thriller And as the film’s writer and director, he has successfully blended these elements most astutely. But, in his first feature, he still follows a safe formula that has been seen countless times in many other thrillers. It is not as original as reported, but it is highly entertaining.

    Racism is at the core of this film and it is so subtly layered in the writing, direction, and performances, although script-wise, it loses its cleverness around the midway point and the twists and reveals were not so surprising to this reviewer.

    Chris and Rose (Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams), an interracial couple decide to visit the Armitage family in the affluent countryside, a picture perfect community with no real diversity in sight, except for the few black servants who tend to the needs of their employers. Rose has not told her parents, Dean and Missy (Bradford Whitford, Catherine Keener) that her boyfriend is black, but assures Chris that they are an understanding liberally-minded family. He has no need to worry. Wrong, of course.

    Paranoia quickly set in as Chris realizes that some of the town’s African-American residents demonstrate odd behaviors and appearances. In the Armitage household, their slightly off-kilter son’s behavior, Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones), may also be misleading. The Stepford Wives / The Most Dangerous Game vibe is more than intentional as tensions begin to slowly build.

    Get Out sends up that well-to-do white class privilege and their carefully hidden Trump values. Mr. Peale doesn’t shy away from today’s divisive climate and uses gallows humor to make his point. His sense of irony becomes grim as the horror elements begin to seep into the plot. His direction is skillfully handled as he creates the right atmosphere and rhythm for his film to jump-start the scares. There are plenty of well deserved jump-outta-your-seat moments to enjoy.

    The actors underplay their roles which makes the film more disturbing and effective. Mr. Kaluuya is very good as Carl. He is instantly relatable and his nuanced performance is the major catalyst for the film’s success. Ms. Williams has a nice counter balance as his girlfriend. Both Mr. Whitford and Ms. Keener, two always reliable actors, are subtly discomfiting as Rose’s odd parents. But the standout performance is given by Betty Gabriel as Georgina, who simmers with restrained creepiness as the loyal maid. There is also fine support by Marcus Henderson and LiRel Howery, who contributes the needed comic relief to diffuse some of the tension.

    The moviegoers in the theater were totally involved, extremely audible in their reactions to the action and gore. This demonstrative twenty-something crowd whooped and hollered their approval at every killing. They applauded numerous times at the bloody mayhem and laughed wholeheartedly at the comic relief sprinkled throughout the film. Yes, the film made the right impression with its target audience who all shared in the communal tension.

    Get Out is a real crowdpleaser, but the film is not breaking any new territory as many reviewers have suggested. It’s just a well crafted suspenseful, if unoriginal, horror thriller which establishes Mr. Peele as a promising director. So go, get out and see this movie, and have some fun!

    ANY COMMENTS: Please contact me at: jadepietro@rcn.com

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  • Somewhere along the line we have lost the way to make a really good scary movie and substituted sudden visuals and loud noises for that building fearful tingle. This movie makes no progress towards a really scary movie as it obviously moves through its transparent plot. There are too many things that aren’t resolved or are solved by killing. There isn’t enough development of plot and comic bits are, too often, placed at awkward moments or just not integrated into the action well enough. This is a plot with possibilities but lacks the development to build a really scary movie.
    This must all fall on Jordon Peele’s head as the writer and director. He does not seem to have studied any of the great horror films. He seems to have taken an “…and then we can…” frame work and just dropped his characters into it. Even close family members seem to be one space removed from a close family relationship which makes it difficult to accept these people as a family and weakens their believability as characters. The emotions aren’t honest but only appropriate to the moment and change as the moments demands it. One character doesn’t even seem to be in the same movie because he’s so far away from the tone of the rest of the movie. A good movie must have a good script and this script wasn’t able to land on a consistent tone and thus it’s very confusing.
    Too often a plot point is just left there and not developed. The opening sequence involves a character going after a black man on a quiet suburban street. Even after we find out which character did that, we don’t have any connection between that sequence and the plot of the movie much less an explanation. Humor is all well and good in a horror film, either to mock the genre or to heighten the horror by giving the audience a good laugh then throwing in the horror which will seem doubly horrible because we were just laughing. In this movie the humor isn’t used as a way to heighten the horror or to demonstrate how silly the horror is.
    There are some very good actors in this movie but they aren’t given more than flat two dimensional characters that can’t develop anything. Stephen Root’s Jim Hudson is a perfect example of this. Here is a character that if we had met him earlier he could have been a charmer who slowly reveals the horrifying thing he wants to do. Instead of just dropping it into a sequence near the end it could have been drawn out more and allow the horror to build rather then just being someone talking because someone has to explain what’s going to happen.
    I also found the music by Michael Abels to be obvious and giving away too much. Music can easily put the audience into a horror sequence providing, like humor, there is contrast. Abels score of thumps and bumps made it feel as if something was going to happen almost all the time but nothing did and if that is done too often all tension is lost.
    I give Get Out 2 cute little dogs out of 5. A good movie requires a good script. A good horror movie also demands building tension. Neither was part of this film.

  • The most terrifying monsters are the ones we encounter in our everyday lives. In the brilliant race-conscious horror film, Get Out, the monsters are white liberals, whose enlightenment masks a darker nature.

    “My dad would have voted for Obama for a third term!” Rose (Allison Williams) assures photographer boyfriend Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) when he expresses concern that she hasn’t told her parents Dean and Missy Armitage (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) that he is black. They’re upper-class liberals and they’re the good kind of white people, she promises, Chris has absolutely nothing to worry about. Indeed, neurosurgeon Dean gives Chris the warmest of welcomes, though he perhaps goes a bit too overboard in his efforts to be buddy buddy with Chris.

    More obviously unsettling is Missy, a psychiatrist, who offers to help Chris kick his smoking habit via hypnosis. Though he initially declines, she quietly but firmly imposes her will, and Chris finds himself revealing the guilt he still carries over his mother’s death before falling into a void that Missy calls “the sunken place.” Chris can’t help but feel that something is very amiss, especially since the other two black people in the family’s secluded house behave as if lobotomised – housekeeper Georgina (Betty Gabriel) gazes at her own reflection whilst groundskeeper Walter (Marcus Henderson) races around the grounds during the night. Yet Rose keeps insisting that everything is all right and that he is only being hypersensitive.

    Perhaps Chris should have listened to his best friend, TSA officer Rod (a hilarious Lil Rel Howery), who had half-jokingly warned him to never go to a white girl’s house and who, upon hearing Chris’ worries over a series of phone calls, believes that the Armitages may be trapping Chris in some sort of sex ring operation. At this point, a sex ring operation may be a far better alternative than what the Armitages have in store for him.

    A dexterous debut from Jordan Peele (one half of the Key and Peele sketch-comedy pair), Get Out is the most thought-provoking examinations of racism in post-Obama America. That it is told within the framework of the horror genre is even more impressive. Peele doesn’t stint on the thrills and chills, and neither does he hold back on shining a light on the perils of complacency from both sides of the racial divide. Good intentions, Peele argues, can be as corrosive and hindering as barefaced racism, possibly even more so since racism is bred in the corners of deceptively innocuous conversations and becomes even more of a presence by the very virtue of its enforced absence.

    Racial commentary aside, Peele proves himself a director to watch, possessed of a keen eye for detail, pacing and performance.

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