The film Get Out written, directed and produced by Jordan Peele (Key & Peele) debuted on February 24, 2017. I recall discovering the preview for the film featuring
Daniel Kaluuya (Skins), Allison Williams (Girls), and veteran actors, Catherine Keener,
and Stephen Root, while scrolling through my Facebook timeline at the end of last year and became determined to see it during opening weekend. Below, I will list seven thoughts I have in regards to the film. For those who have not seen the film, there will be spoilers in this post. You have been warned…
Was the cop an asshole for asking Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) to produce his driver’s license? Or was the cop aware of the fact black men were disappearing in the area and perhaps he suspected Rose (Allison Williams) had something to do with it. As viewers we are inclined to see the cop as a racist because of our country’s problematic relationship between law enforcement and black men. However, a part of me wonders if the officer had good intentions…
When Chris and Rose relay the story of how they struck and killed a deer on their way to the Armitage estate, Dean Armitage (Bradley Whitford) launches into a seemingly-benign monologue about how the area is overpopulated with deer and how the deer are taking over and by Chris and Rose killing a deer it was actually a good thing because it was one less deer in the area. As the movie progresses, you learn this monologue is more of a commentary on how Dean views black people. Black people are nothing but animals invading his area. Perhaps this is why whenever an unarmed black man is killed at the hands of the police there is an immediate campaign to dehumanize the victim. If you paint the victim as a animal, you can somewhat justify the eradicating of his or her existence. One less deer…
Being a resident of the American South, cotton fields are EVERYWHERE. Cotton is very emblematic of American slavery. When Chris is held captive in the basement of the Armitage estate, it is cotton that actually frees him. Shoving the cotton from inside the chair he is tied to into his ears is actually how he manages to stay lucid in order to escape. Cotton, once a symbol of oppression, becomes the source of a black man’s freedom.
When Chris rushes upstairs to check his phone, each of the guests stop what they are doing to watch him. What was that about? If some can explain why they reacted the way they did, please comment below.
Walter’s death functions in two ways, one of which might actually protect Chris in the long run. A) Even with all of the Armitages dead, Walter will never be able to have a normal life because the real Walter is actually in the sunken place while the white brain that resides in his body is the dominant personality. B) Dean, Missy (Catherine Keener) and Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) Armitage are dispatched by Chris but their bodies will be destroyed by the fire that engulfed the estate. Rose is shot by Walter who then turns the gun on himself. Perhaps Walter, the real Walter, killed himself as a way for Chris to not be implicated in all of the murders.
What will become of Logan aka Andre Hayworth? Logan was the man we saw being kidnapped at the start of the film and we later learn his brain has been replaced with the brain of a party guest’s husband. Without the Armitages around, what will happen to Logan?
What will become of Chris? When the film ended, the audience, including myself, erupted in applause and cheers. Even though we are given the best possible ending, a part of me wonders what will happen to Chris. Chris is irreparably psychology broken and even though he was able to finally confront the circumstances surrounding his mother’s death, he now has to spend the rest of his life dealing with the nightmare the Armitages inflicted on him. What if the authorities come to him, asking him about Rose and her family? Will they believe him? Chris’s best friend Rod (Lil Rel Howery) believes him but we all know the weight of a black man’s words, especially when young, white women are involved.
If you have not seen Get Out, go buy a ticket now! I cannot recommend it enough. Also, if you have any thoughts or comments in regards to my above thoughts, fill free to comment.
Best thing: Horror films love to make innocuous things terrifying. Anyone who makes scraping sounds in their teacup when stirring their tea can get the hell away from me. So creepy!
Worst thing: Perhaps it’s because I’m so used to horror films ending on a downer. But the ending felt a little too soon. Are they leaving it open for a sequel?
There’s a film I love called “Judgment Night”. The premise is that a group of yuppies become stranded in the run-down dodgy area of town and find they cannot get out. The opening scene of “Get Out” is the exact opposite of this. The protagonist in that scene feels very uncomfortable walking in a fancy suburban area of town.
Get Out is reminiscent of other horror films too. The obvious comparison is The Stepford Wives which I admittedly haven’t seen (unless you count the remake, of which the less said the better). The black characters acting unnaturally happy as servants in an all-white community are an obvious parallel to the “perfect” submissive wives in that story.
Another comparison I want to make is to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Get Out isn’t going for the same sort of oppressive tone as Tobe Hooper’s movie (though admittedly Tobe Hooper always thought his film was hilarious). However, what Hooper’s film did was to take something seemingly safe and wholesome and make it horrifying. Hooper’s film puts a twist on “southern hospitality” and Peele’s film puts a twist on embarrassing white liberals.
This isn’t a film about racists per se. It’s about liberal white people who are supportive of black people and mean well, but have some embarrassing residual racist sentiments. And Peele takes their faux pas comments and takes them to a genuinely horrifying place.
Part way through I thought I knew exactly where this was going and I couldn’t have been more wrong. The fear comes from not knowing the nature of the threat but simply knowing that something is wrong. When I thought I understood the threat I briefly became a bit frustrated, but the film quickly got me back on board and I was soon horrified again.
There’s a comic relief character here, played by Lil Rel Howery, who is mostly separate from the main action. He isn’t as realistic as the other characters and displays some comedy tropes which somewhat at odds with the horror atmosphere of the rest of the film. When he’s talking out loud to himself it’s clearly playing up to an audience and the only audience is the one watching the film.
I’m very pleased to see Caleb Landry Jones back in top creepy form like we saw from him in thd underrated sci-fi body-horror “Antiviral”. Allisom Williams from Girls is also very cool as the girlfriend. I think I’d only seen Daniel Kaluuya (our protagonist) before in Sicario, but he has to give a lot of subtle reaction shots here and he always helps us to clearly understand his character without any need to explicitly tell us his thoughts.
Get Out is clever, different, emotionally powerful, funny (and there are plenty of subtle jokes where I didn’t even know they were setting up for a joke until later), dramatic, horrifying and generally everything you would want from an instant horror classic. If you love horror, you will love Get Out. And as a horror comedy fan I think all that is missing is lashings of gore, Evil Dead 2 style, but otherwise this is frikkin’ perfect.
When I find a film like Get Out, a picture that not only delivers frights but also has something to say, I’m compelled to dig deeper. This is the kind of picture that you’ll have a ton of fun discussing and analyzing everything that makes it scary, funny, insightful and clever.
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is traveling with his white girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) to meet her family: her father Dean (Bradley Whitford), her mom Missy (Catherine Keener) and her brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones). Even when the family assures him that they don’t have a problem with the colour of his skin, Chris gets an itchy feeling that there’s something not quite right.
In some ways, the message and the medium of Get Out are one and the same. When you hear “hypnosis”, what do you think of? an altered state of mind; a focal point that allows you to hone in on a specific memory or feeling; a new level of awareness and heightened suggestibility? Those elements are present in the film, but most importantly, in the viewing experience. Writer/director Jordan Peele (in a spectacular debut) will use a musical sting to bring attention to a character in the background. This suggests to you that you should pay attention to that person, that whatever it is that’s happening, it has to do with them. Fear and paranoia will grow where normally, it wouldn’t be. You’ll think of other horror films you’ve seen in the past and settle on a conclusion. You think you have it figured out… until the pendulum swings back and will show you something else that will have you reconsidering everything.
Things that would seem normal in any other picture take on a whole new meaning. You’re suddenly aware of sentences that… don’t feel quite right. You know that SOMETHING is off kilter. This is a horror movie, after all, the opening scene makes that very clear.
There’s a lot to be said about the cinematography, writing, symbolism and also, the characters of Get Out. The film is frightening, but it’s also very funny. There’s a good balance here. You’ll be kept on your toes. I love the way it uses horror to talk about racism, but not in an immediately obvious way. It’s not like Green Room (also a great film), which has skinhead neo-Nazis and the danger is obvious from the start; here the danger lurks below the surface.
Get Out has many moments of brilliance and a killer ending. It has unconventional scares, none of which are cheap, and once the film is over, you’ll keep playing the story back in your head, admiring all of the little details used to make it happen the way it did. Get Out is a funny, thoughtful, poignant and smart horror film. (Theatrical version on the big screen, March 15, 2017)