Get Out follows an African-American photographer named Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his white girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams) as they agree to visit her parents’ (Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener) suburban estate. Once there, Chris discovers there is something odd about Rose’s parents and the fact that the servants including the housekeeper (Betty Gabriel) and groundskeeper (Marcus Henderson) are all African-American.
At the time of writing, Jordan Peele’s Get Out has raked more than US$160 million in the US box office alone and still going strong even after eight weeks of release since February 24th. Now, thanks to United International Pictures Malaysia (UIP), we finally get to watch the horror movie that has everyone talking about in the stateside. For all the universal praises surrounding the critical and financial success of this movie, is Get Out really worth the buzz? I’m happy to say that the answer is an absolute yes. Get Out is no doubt one of the rare horror movies that truly exceeds my expectation. Not only writer-director Jordan Peele successfully crafted a genuinely scary movie but also manages to elevate the genre with biting social commentary on race relations and prejudice between black and white people.
First of all, it’s hard to believe this movie is actually Jordan Peele’s feature-length directorial debut. And yet, he’s already proven his knack for subverting the usual horror-movie trapping that is both cerebral and thought-provoking like a seasoned pro. Believe it or not, this is the same Jordan Peele we are talking about. The one who was famously known for appearing with Keegan-Michael Key in the hit Comedy Central sketch series, Key & Peele and also featured in the kitten-centric action comedy Keanu last year.
In Get Out, most of the horror factors aren’t strictly derived from jump scares, gore and violence. While Peele still combines the aforementioned three commonly-seen horror clichés, he is smart enough to use them sparingly without going overboard or being repetitive. Even with its 18-rating (thank god the movie is released here during the press screening contains no cuts), Peele uses it mostly for profanity. Instead, the scary moments come from Peele’s well-timed suspense and its uneasy tone that grows increasingly tense and relentless as the movie progresses further. Then comes the third act, complete with a surprising plot twist and a violent payoff that is thrilling enough to satisfy most genre fans.
As a screenwriter, Peele manages to strike a balance between the dramatic and humorous tone on the racial issue. He also effectively uses race to inject a foreboding sense of fear and dread. In the meantime, seasoned moviegoers and die-hard movie fans might be impressed on how Get Out shares a few tonal similarities with genre classics such as the 1967’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (the meet-the-parents scene), 1975’s The Stepford Wives (the all-good-to-be-true “perfect” suburbia with odd characters) and even a trace of 1972’S Deliverance (a big-city dweller who is completely lost and hopeless in a foreign, yet ominous setting).
As for the cast, Daniel Kaluuya proves to be a great talent to look for in the future. As Chris, he delivers a remarkable performance who is both likeable and sympathetic. Allison Williams is equally appealing as Chris’ supportive girlfriend, Rose and Lil Rel Howery provides a few great comic relief as Chris’ best friend, Rodney. Last but not least, Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener round up the first-rate ensemble cast with their chilling performances as Rose’s parents, Dean and Missy.
Finally, Get Out also benefitted from Michael Abels’ sinister score that evokes the classic horror movies of the yesteryear while Toby Oliver’s deceptively elegant cinematography perfectly mirrored Peele’s layered tones.