*This is a pretty spoiler-free review that leaves a lot to be debated about.*
A lot of you know that I’m a horror guy. But these days there really isn’t much to offer outside the possession, found footage, creepy ghosts sub-genre. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse every time I say that, and I say it so often it’s exhausting, but it needs to be said. Unfortunately Jason Blum has tapped into something that people love and keep coming back to for some reason. The irony doesn’t escape me that “Get Out” is a Blumhouse Production. Sometimes you just have to put your hate on the side burner.
As far as a film that combines high concepts, social commentary, and elements of horror and thriller alike, you’re not going to get much better than “Get Out.” Not to mention the fact that it makes white people uncomfortable to talk about is an added bonus. Most reviews coming out are about how the film is great, injects something special into the horror genre, yada yada yada. But I guess the thing at this point is that talking about the plot could spoil the intentions of the film and the sizable reveal in the 3rd Act.
So here’s the long and short of “Get Out.” Chris has been going out with Rose for a few months, so naturally the next step for Chris is to meet Rose’s parents. Chris and Rose load up and head out of town for a weekend in the country with her family, the Armitages’. What follows is a weekend that shows the sinister intentions of the family, despite their demure social front and fondness of being worldly liberals who would have voted for Barack Obama a third time.
You can sum this film up to the friend that you know, who is white, that feels he understands the condition of minorities by trying to relate with them at a base level, ie, taking an accent with their speech, telling them you would have voted for their leaders again, etc. Speaking from the white perspective, I’ll never understand the plight of someone who is Afro-American, Latino, Asian, Native American, and so on, understanding isn’t the key, the key is letting them explain their situation without the injection of white-splaning. Also, just because you have friends who aren’t white doesn’t give you the ability to understand. As a white person you’ll never understand the struggle.
Now that I got that out of the way, what is there to like about “Get Out?” Tons!
Peele has created something that while not pure horror, is the horror story of our time, especially for any non-white. It’s also a slow burn to a nice 2nd act twist that while you might have seen coming, when it does hit, it’s a true kick in the face. But the most interesting thing might be who you actually TALK TO about the twist. From the white perspective, you might hear an audible gasp, or a “wow, that’s crazy.” If you ask anyone who isn’t white, you’ll likely hear, “I knew it.” or “that’s fucked up.” That’s because it is fucked up, but it might also be a fact that white people wouldn’t believe a white person would do something like that, and in there lies why we still have a lot to do in terms of race relations and how we perceive our own race and the lengths, and depths, they are willing to go.
There is also some humor sprinkled in with what some people are calling the best supporting character in modern times in Rod, Chris’ friend that works for the TSA, played by LilRel Howery. He’s a great character that is self-aware of the situation that Chris is in, intelligent, but also looked down upon when he presents evidence about the trouble his friend is in; by the police no less. It’s just another thing to remind you of the times we live in, or what’s been going on for the between part of the last century.
“Get Out” is a film best served re-visiting at least twice, maybe even three times. Sure, the “twist” is gone upon multiple viewings, but the journey to how it gets there can get lost in the details. The Armitage estate is surrounded in mystery, and relics from other countries and cultures are scattered around the house. A conversation early in the film between Chris and Rose’s father. Dean, sets the tone of the family’s legacy and even gives a “what-if” if history was just a little different. It’s actually pretty chilling.
Considering I’m staying as spoiler-free as possible, I’m going to stop this review right here, But the point is that this film will appeal to the passive viewers as just a straight up psychological horror film but if you want something with a little more meat on it’s bones and something to say, “Get Out” is the first great film of 2017.