TL;DR
  • Unique horror film that addresses an important issue in a new way
  • Well-sculpted horror – doesn’t resort to many particular jump scares – atmosphere and themes alone are sinister enough
  • Exceptional writing balances engaging plot and contemporary issues with heart and humour
  • Will stay with you for a long time

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Recently films with the topic of racism seem to be fairly commonplace after the #OscarSoWhite scandal last year. Appropriately, Hollywood seems to have addressed the issue and is trying to turn it around, with such films as Moonlight, Hidden Figures and the interesting remake of Birth of a Nation. However, Get Out stands apart from the rest, hitting a note that may resonate with audiences for much longer and saying more than what is just on the surface, inviting audiences to think, discuss and change their point of view.

As with many, the first time I heard about this film was when the trailer was released –  naturally films that are different and excite people do their rounds on Facebook. I remember two things striking me at the time; firstly that this was directed by Jordan Peele, a man I became aware of through Keanu, a comedy about a kitten; and secondly that this was a horror film with a unique topic – racism. And, despite the numerous reservations I had, the hype is worth it and the film really does live up to the strength of its trailer – an accolade many films today cannot claim.

We follow the main character of Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a black man, going to meet the family of his new girlfriend, a white girl. Worried that she hasn’t told them that he’s black, the film is an uneasy ride of paranoia and mystery – why are the family so obsessed with race? Is Chris thinking too much? What’s really going on? The last question becomes clear in a third act that slightly tests the audience with its explanation that delves into a sci-fi twist that could divide audience opinions, some loving it and some disliking the distancing from reality. On the other hand, one of the joys in this film is that the rug is never pulled from beneath us. Everything at the end has been laid out and nothing comes as a surprise – instead it all makes sense and it’s a delight to join the dots. Even thinking about the film afterwards or rewatching it, there are things that make sense and can be seen in a new light. A well thought out film with a strong plot.

Despite much controversy surrounding the casting of Daniel Kaluuya (since he is English as opposed to American), his accent and acting are flawless and, were one not to know he were English, it wouldn’t be noticeable at all. Personally I don’t think this fact detracts from the film or his performance. He takes the character and writing from Jordan Peele and plays the character perfectly, fully personifying the personal experience of being an African-American. As for much of the rest of the cast, they all play similar characters; people who initially seem nice and pleasant on the surface, but with a subtle malevolence beneath that threatens to break though at any moment, maintaining the tension throughout. This tension, though ever present, never becomes too much or over-powering however through Peele’s use of comedy, peppered in with Chris’s friend, Rod. Not just used as a method of comic relief, Rod helps us take a step back and see the situation from a different perspective, helping us accept the absurdity of the final act. This adds another layer to the joy of the film as there are more laugh-out-loud moments than actual comedies.

Though not perfect, this film has done what so many films fail to do – simultaneously engage, provoke and entertain an audience while still making them discuss the issues that push the film and make it relevant to today. Fun to watch, scary to watch, interesting to watch – this is a film that will be talked about and remembered for years to come – and rightly so. If Jordan Peele can continue to make films such as this, we have a very interesting new director that I hope makes more. A horror film that not only follows genre tropes, but simultaneously defies them.

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