Many people, like myself, were doubtful when comedian and actor Jordan Peele announced that his directorial debut was a horror movie, Horror and comedy are seemingly different genres, and the mixture of the two rarely works. How was Peele going to helm a legitimately scary yet comedic film?
I thought the movie at least being unique, when the trailer for “Get Out” was released. I did not expect it to be one of the best horror films released in the past decade. An impressive mix of genuine horror, hilarious comedy and thought-provoking social commentary.
Chris, a black man, is going to meet his white girlfriend’s family over the weekend at their well-to-do estate. While she reassures Chris that her family is too liberal to be racist, Chris starts to suspect something sinister is going on behind the scenes.
“Get Out” immediately tackles what makes horror great: its ability to tap into the fears of society. In America’s current sociopolitical climate, it’s easy to see how creepy a white liberal family trying too hard to appeal to a black person could cause concern.
Luckily, Peele and company expertly take this concept to its logical next step, creating an unnerving atmosphere as the mysteries start to pile up.
Between these moments of tension are scenes of comedy that surprisingly mix well with the rest of the film. The jokes are well written and more importantly, appropriately timed — making them great sources of relief from the thriller plotline.
Even more surprising is how the pacing keeps these conflicting tones from interfering with each other. There’s just enough time between the scares and laughs to keep the transitions from being too rough.
The tonal shifts would be less effective if it weren’t for the great script. The standout is lead actor Daniel Kaluuya, whose facial expressions and comments capture hilarious confusion, but also terrifying uncertainty.
While all of this would have been enough to make “Get Out” a good movie, what elevates it to genius status is the film address the most hostile and violent issues of racism. The film has faced criticisms for its heavy focus on racial tensions, but the film is essentially a comedic take on the worst fears of those subjugated to systematic racism.
I want to stress “Get Out” is not anti-white. The film does put rich, liberal white people in the role of the villains, Peele and company are not calling everyone in who fits in the category racist or telling the audience to not trust them. It’s more poking fun at these types of people and trying to get a different perspective in the horror genre while also adding an artistic take on race in an allegedly ‘color-blind’ America.
All of this culminates into one of the most satisfying endings I’ve seen in a horror movie in years. It manages to fulfill the desires of the average moviegoing audience while not compromising its intelligence and ultimate intentions.
“Get Out” is a near flawless film. Peele’s directorial debut shows a true command and love of the horror genre, while also being confident enough to not let this love get away from the message of the movie.
Rating: If you like horror movies, or film in general, get out of your house and see “Get Out”
Samuel Goodrich, Staff Writer