Review: Get Out – A socially conscious slice of horror goodness

GET OUT drew a large amount of commentary when its trailer was released. Many looked at the racial overtones and whether or not a simple binary would be enough to terrify audiences. With increasing acclaim it became apparent that the film offers a great deal more than a horror in a unique setting. Get Out provides tension that rivals not only most horrors but thrillers as well.

The prologue of the film reminds the audience, in true Halloween fashion, that the film is a horror by showing a brutal murder on a dark night. Yet, this is just a snippet of what is to come and there is the introduction of a pleasant state of affairs. The beginning of the film, as all films should, establishes the characters and their motivations. This is done with confidence intertwining notes of comedy into the melody of normal life. This is perhaps unsurprising as writer and director Jordan Peele rose to acclaim through his work Keanu and most notably Key & Peele. Yet, Jordan Peele does litter the film with indications of the horror to come. The film plants seeds of horror through the discourse of day to day life, these seeds flourish as Chris, and his partner and Rose, go to the latter’s parents for the weekend.

There are uncomfortable interactions as soon as Chris and Rose arrive. However, it is hard to tell if Chris has simply walked into an unconsciously racist home. This question lingers as more unnerving characters are introduced and illustrate their racist ideologies.The scenes of awkward interactions are made more suspenseful with the violent trailer in mind. This suspense is paced well and presents a natural incline of unease.

The film is directed subtly throughout these scene letting the actors shine through and establish the increasingly odd scene. As Rose’s extended family detail their credentials, light and wide shots illustrate spatial isolation. Yet, there are more mysterious elements raised by the behaviour of the staff of the household.

Peele does allow himself to express his directing talents. The film showcases visual flourishes as it becomes increasingly psychological. Scenes centred around hypnosis are spacious and provide a visually satisfying depiction of the subconscious. Furthermore, the action and gore are as satisfying as any modern horror. Yet, the action is particularly compelling because of the acting that illustrated the social relations previously.

The actors at the core of the story all provide satisfying performances which help navigate their somewhat generic characters with conviction. Daniel Kaluuya is a compelling lead who enters new acting territory with ease. Furthermore, Allison Williams provides a suspense-filled take on the femme fatale trope. This acting in a rural setting allows for a study of character and the growth of suspense.

The film provides action, horror and most importantly political commentary. Despite initial reservations presented by the trailer, there are sophisticated references throughout. The racial relationships illustrate the tensions in the United States. The distrust of the police force and the racism of self-declared liberal characters create a claustrophobic atmosphere around Chris. The state of entrapment is chilling twofold; in one sense there is the conventional themes of isolation that are a trope of horror. On the other hand, there is a depiction of a racial divide that has yet to be unified in the United States.

Get Out builds upon convention to create a unique horror that provides a commentary on a grim social reality. The familiar tropes of the film are done well and this provides a platform for a good film. There are few horrors that have such immediacy in their social commentary and terror. The film will surely send the internet into a frenzy of speculation and prophetic readings. However, underneath varying well-sourced theories is a film that is entertaining and tense until the very end.

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