“Get Out,” a horror film with a socially conscious edge, went into opening weekend with impressive reviews — including a rare 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film — written and directed by Jordan Peele of the comedy duo Key & Peele — is about Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a black man, meeting his white girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) family in the suburbs where things just don’t feel right. The only fellow black people Chris comes in contact with, the majority whom are the family’s servants, seem off and uneasy. Further disorder ensues.
Peele has departed from sketch comedy in the past. He wrote action comedy movie “Keanu” (2016), which he and comedy partner Keegan-Michael Key acted in. Humor is employed in “Get Out,” especially through Chris’ best friend Rod, but in perfectly small doses to relieve the suspense. After all, humor and fear are both extreme emotions that garner physical reactions from the audience. The best films use both elements in perfect proportions. “Get Out” is one of those best films.
Some of the best acted moments of “Get Out” were ones without any lines at all, or ones where the lines mattered very little. Family servant Georgina (Betty Gabriel) stood out even in the trailers as being a haunting character. Gabriel smiles a little too big and chuckles a little too long throughout her scenes, emphasizing her uneasy nature. Close shots of her depicted a ton of emotion without saying any words. There is also a scene when Chris recounts his mother’s death. A close, steady shot of his tear-soaked face contorted in anguish said more than any lines could.
But nearly every line Peele did write was spot on. The family and neighbors were perfectly characterized with a satirical tone. Said characters would pronounce “garbage” like “gar-bahge” and tell Chris how much they admire Barack Obama and Tiger Woods. These little nods to cultural habits and stereotypes helped depict an all too realistic setting.
Extended metaphors of the hunter and the hunted were well utilized as well. Allusions are also made to news events such as the Trayvon Martin case. The metaphors and allusions weren’t beaten to death, but, like use of humor and dialogue, used in the perfect amount.
The soundtrack is also worth noting. Peele told GQ in an interview that the score includes Swahili chanting and whispers urging Chris along as he tries to escape. Aside from the score, the soundtrack is made up of three songs: Flanagan and Allen’s “Run Rabbit Run” (1939); Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes’ “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” (1987); and Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” (2016). The juxtaposition between old-timey, more classic music and Gambino’s refrain of “stay woke” reflected the movie’s dynamic.
Overall, “Get Out” lived up to what seemed like insurmountable hype. The film is timely, smart, thrilling and indeed blood-and-guts scary.