No doubt, one of the biggest films of the year is Jordan Peele’s Get Out. This film took audiences by storm and managed to make $230,878,614 worldwide on a meager $4.5mil budget. I finally got around to seeing this film and was curious to experience what all the hype was about. This was a curiosity for me because there really aren’t any A-list celebs in the film (although I’m a big fan of Stephen Root), and this is Peele’s debut directorial effort. Well, after watching it I can understand why audiences loved this film, though I must admit that I think the praise is a little over done. Let’s back up and talk about the film itself.
Get Out stars Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams as Chris and Rose (respectfully). They are a young couple in love. Chris is meeting Rose’s parents for the first time and he is a little nervous. Rose hasn’t told her parents that Chris is black, and he is concerned about their reaction. When they arrive at Rose’s parent’s house, Chris is put at ease Rose’s parents seem down to earth and don’t even bat an eyelash at the sight of him. Sure, her father Dean (Bradley Whitford) is your typical dorky dad, but he and his wife Missy (Catherine Keener) welcome Chris into their home and do everything to make him feel right at home.
This isn’t to say that everything is perfect. Chris immediately notices that all the hired help in and around the house are black. Not only thins, but the help all seems a little off. Nothing Chris could put his finger on, but they all seem all to happy and unusually nice and compliant. Of course, everything isn’t as it seems, and there is a nefarious hidden agenda at work here. No spoilers, but Chris finds himself in the middle of a modern day slave auction where surgery and hypnosis are used to create the “perfect black person.”
The first thing that really jumps out here is the acting. Peele has assembled a fantastic cast that knocks it out of the park. There is no overacting, and everyone is quite believable in their roles. The other thing you will notice is that this is an extremely well-made film. We get tight, claustrophobic shots, sprawling landscape shots, and Peele’s attention to details when framing his shots is nothing short of impressive. Technically, this film is spot on. But there is something that nagged at me while watching it. Get Out isn’t, to be blunt, a very original film. Peele takes credit for writing the film, but he should share that credit with Ira Levin, who wrote the novel, The Stepford Wives. Get Out, as good as it is, plays out like a remake of 1974’s The Stepford Wives, but instead of men trying to create the perfect wives, in Get Out we have white folks attempting to make the perfect black people. Sure, the science and the social commentary is updated and “contemporized,” but these two stories are the same.
I enjoyed Get Out and always love to have a new voice in the horror genre, especially one that comes from a different genre (in this case, comedy). There’s a lot to like about this film–the acting, the directing, Chris getting revenge on the white devils–but the ending definitely needed some help and left you feeling as though all the loose ends weren’t tied up I almost got the feeling that Peele wasn’t exactly sure how to wrap the film up. But despite the lame ending and the all-too-familiar story, Get Out is a lot of fun.
Director: Jordan Peele (& writer)
Plot: 3 out of 5 stars
Gore: 2 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer