I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’ve seen Get Out. If not, I’ll warn you, there will be some spoilers tucked away in here.
To celebrate the upcoming DVD release (available May 23), let’s take some time to remind ourselves why this movie is so damn good.
With a domestic gross of $174 million, Get Out is Blumhouse producer Jason Blum’s highest-grossing film. It currently holds a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. There’s even talk of running an Oscar campaign, which is a) well deserved and b) incredible, considering how rarely we see horror films recognized at that level.
It’s no secret that writer/director Jordan Peele is a die-hard horror fan. Although his roots are in comedy, Peele dove into the horror/thriller genre and plans to follow Get Out with four more social thrillers. I, for one, can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. With Get Out, he’s proven himself a skilled director and a brilliant writer. The plot is wonderfully crafted and the dialogue is tightly clever
Once you know the film’s secret, you realize how much of the dialogue is incredibly front-loaded. Lines like “my mother loved this kitchen, we keep a piece of her in here” and “when they died, I couldn’t bear to let them go” are, at first viewing, innocuous. But the more you look at the film, the more you see these sinister little hints.
The miss-it-at-first-glance symbolism runs rampant – for example, at the garden party, the affluent white guests all arrive in black vehicles.
The whole party scene is fantastic – again, with front-loaded dialogue. What at first seems like awkward conversation between two very different worlds turns into a twisted wine tasting where the guests question, sample, and savor what’s on the menu.
Jordan Peele clearly knows how to work with his actors, because the performances are all top-notch. Daniel Kaluuya as Chris is perfection; the audience is easily sympathetic to his position as the new boyfriend who is trying his best to get along with the family. He’s sweet, relaxed, and uncomfortably adjusting to the thinly-veiled racially-charged comments from the family and friends who are trying a little too hard to make him feel welcome.
Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford are flawlessly unnerving as the overly supportive parents. Their presence is calming but you can feel that there’s something not quite right there. Betty Gabriel’s performance as Georgina is incredible. She plays the role with such delicate nuance that – again, upon a second viewing – shows just how calibrated her performance is. Lil Rel Howery is hilarious as the best friend and comic relief. But unlike the comic relief character of most horror films, it’s not schlocky. He’s genuinely charismatic and steals every scene he’s in.
Musically, Get Out sets the perfect tone. The plucky yet creepy tune of “Run Rabbit Run” sends chills down your spine. Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” prompts us to “stay woke” and “don’t you close your eyes”. Michael Abels’ opening song in Swahili sends a warning to the audience – the lyrics plead sentiments like “run” and “save yourself”. They combine – along with Michael Abels’ other compositions – to set the mood in a subtle yet totally effective way.
Ultimately, the film is so damn important because – not only is it a brilliantly executed thriller – it carries a powerful message. The villain here is not the hate-spewing, alt-right, outwardly racist monsters that we expect to see. It’s affluent self-identified liberal white people who – like Rose’s father so proudly states – would have voted for Obama a third time if they could have. It’s about the people who insist they’re not racist because of the artists and athletes they admire, but are guilty of racial profiling. It’s about the old guys at the party who ask about the black experience and genuinely have no idea how complex that answer is.
Get Out takes the concept behind Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and mixes it with a much more insidious Rosemary’s Baby/Invasion of the Body Snatchers type of horror. These are films that explore an ignorance of what’s really going on. They question how we respond when things are not okay. Get Out is a damning commentary of our social, cultural, and political climate, and it’s absolutely fucking necessary.
Featured image via IMDb