Jordan Peele’s directorial debut has captivated critics and audiences pretty universally, and for good reason. Get Out is an irresistibly funny, unrelentingly smart, and thoroughly relevant horror comedy film. It is multilayered and self-referential, compounding its humour as well as its chilling real-world parallels. Mild spoilers to follow.
It’s difficult to talk about this film without giving anything away, and I am definitely going to keep this review free of plot-related spoilers. But thematically, what makes it so great is the sheer number of connecting threads that are present throughout the story. Get Out is incredibly clever in its use of subtext and visual comparison to unpack a narrative about deeply rooted racism and anti-blackness. The film touches on fetishisation, slavery and its historicism, and the relationship between blackness and the legal system, to name just a few themes. It even plays on the whiteness of successful horror films. In its relatively short runtime of 103 minutes, that’s very impressive.
Get Out is anything but trope-ish, or at least when it chooses to indulge in archetypes, it breaks them down almost immediately after. The film constantly keeps you tense and on your toes because there is not a single moment from the first frame to the last where you feel any kind of relief from the overwhelming myriad of reactions. It’s a deft mixture of cautiousness, fear, hilarity, and sobering reality despite the heightened sense of the setting (beautifully captured by DP Toby Oliver). The music further adds an unsettling twinge, an unmissable quality in the atmosphere of the film not simply due to how plainly good it is but because it doesn’t overpower everything else.
Moreover, all the core performances are astounding. David Kaluuya is magnetic as the film’s protagonist, Chris, and gloriously funny in the most subtle way. Allison Williams delivers a performance that I can only describe as amazingly malleable and believable. She shifts between her parents and Chris, dealing with their racist behaviour (“but not really!” as she’d say). Speaking of, Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener are a creepy force to be reckoned with – a pairing that I was not aware that I needed but one I’m grateful to have witnessed. Lil Rey Howery is a wonder, and rounds out the leading cast as not only the staple comedic presence but the actual heart and soul of the film.
Get Out is an Important film; in all its fantasy, it delivers truly galvanising and chilling comedy. It’s unforgettable.