Please, whatever you do, don’t go into Jordan Peele’s Get Out hoping for a harrowing nerve-shredder as the trailers have made it out to be.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre with racism this is not.
In fact, the director’s debut film plays its comedy thick, fast, and in the case of Lil Rel Howery’s character Rod, very broadly.
Seriously, we’re in Scream territory here.
That being said, the film is very funny, and very clever with it. And as the apparently well meaning upper class white Americans of the weekend gathering (over the course of which the film takes place) express to protagonist Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) their admiration for black people, black culture and their intention to have voted for Obama for a third term if they could’ve, the level of cringe in the humour has you squirming.
It’s the kind of comedy that has you wincing and gurning in your seat. In a way, that’s a kind of horror in itself.
That’s evidence of how clever this film is. Yes, there’s plenty of good traditional horror to be had. The violence is satisfyingly crunchy and impacts are delivered with convincing force and believability.
But it also turns commonplace interactions between black and white people into encounters so unpleasant that they provoke nearly the same reaction as someone getting a boule to the back of the skull.
Get Out goes unexpectedly Mad Scientist at the end (including a scene which strikingly evokes the Arboria Institute video from Beyond the Black Rainbow), and does so entirely in service of its themes.
It helps build an intriguing mythology for what’s going on which doubtless will foster sequels, and just, just, gets away with it thanks to it taking a stridently comedic approach throughout the run up.
Narratively though, it maybe a stretch too far from the world we’ve already been presented for some viewers.
It also introduces the theme of racial jealousy, which for me feels off the mark, with the qualification that I’m not embedded in American culture (I’m embedded in my house in Edinburgh), and this film is very specifically about American racial interaction.
It might be totally spot on over there, but I can’t speak for something I don’t have enough knowledge on.
Special mention goes to Allison Williams as Rose, who is superb in this accomplished movie.
It might not be deserving of all the praise that’s being heaped on it. In my screening there was a sense that not a lot of the crowd were horror aficionados and there’s a feeling the reception Get Out is getting may not be by people who are intimate horror fans.
There was a sense however, that like Insidious before it, this may be a gateway horror film and for that I applaud it.
Get Out? “GET IN” more like it LOL!!!1!!!!
You can talk to @RJBayley about being a horror snob and really classy endings to film reviews on Twitter. Check out his creative projects like his upcoming vampire audiobook on his Facebook page and rjbayley.com