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article imageReview: Comedian Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’ may be year’s best horror movie Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Feb 24, 2017 in Entertainment
‘Get Out’ is a jarring, realistic horror picture that uses the anxieties of interracial couples to create a film that’s like nothing else and will be hard to top even though 2017 is just getting started.
Since the earliest silent pictures about monsters and murderers, the horror genre has been used to explore social and political issues. Whether highlighting the struggles of the poor, the consequences of war or the subsistence of racism, the surrealism of a scary movie can provide the perfect environment to create a metaphor that serves as intelligent commentary on reality. Whether subtle or overt, not underestimating the audience’s ability to identify and understand the film’s meaning can lead to outstanding works of fiction. Get Out is as thought-provoking as it is disturbing, continuing an optimistic start for genre movies in 2017.
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is meeting his girlfriend, Rose’s (Allison Williams), parents for the first time during a weekend visit to their remote country home. He’s somewhat nervous because it’s going to be the first time she brings home a black boyfriend, but she assures him there’s nothing to worry about. Their meeting is expectedly awkward as Rose’s parents, Missy (Catherine Keener) and Dean (Bradley Whitford), seem to treat Chris exceptionally nice, while her brother, Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones), proves to be a hostile drunk. However, even stranger is the behaviour of the black help, who speak oddly and look at Chris curiously. An unexpected party of extended family and friends raises even more questions and Chris has a sinking feeling he should get out while he can.
This is a very interesting time for this movie to be released because as much as there’s something very wrong happening at the Armitage’s, most of the early anxiety is generated via well-meaning, covert racism stemming from the interracial relationship. Dean repeatedly refers to Chris as “my man” and assures him he would’ve voted for Obama for a third-term if possible. Jeremy assesses Chris’ build and physical potential like he was a slave on the auction block. Everyone Chris meets at the party says something inappropriate with each new introduction surpassing the last for impropriety until someone actually says, “Black is ‘in’ right now.” Chris was prepared for the uneasiness exhibited and caused by Rose’s parents, which is somewhat elevated by the odd servants, but no one would blame him for wanting to leave just based on these brief interactions. Plus when Stephen Root shows up, you know things are about to go sideways.
Another layer of trepidation is caused by Missy and Dean’s insistence she hypnotize Chris — to help him stop smoking. He rightly refuses since he’s just met these people who are clearly to some degree uncomfortable with his skin colour and there has been no trust established between himself and the psychiatrist. Of course audiences will begin to speculate what the inclusion of this narrative element means for what has and will happen, and undoubtedly some of them will be right about some aspects but things change pretty quickly and so will audience theories.
Writer/director Jordan Peele’s talent for creating a genuine sense of fear on screen is a pleasant surprise. The tension escalates slowly as stranger and stranger things occur. He has a keen understanding of how to weave a narrative that grips audiences from start to finish, where and how to best utilize jump scares, and that the scariest movies are rooted in reality. But that’s not to say Peele, who is one-half of the comedy duo Key & Peele, hasn’t found a way to inject some humour into the film. Chris’ friend, Rod (LilRel Howery), is the paranoid character who jokingly warns the protagonist he could be walking into a trap. In this context, Rod is the neon flashing light screaming “danger” in a hilarious, over-the-top manner that must be dismissed even though it simultaneously requires everyone’s attention.
This movie definitely warrants a second viewing to really appreciate all the nuances and the flawless performances by all the actors who walk their characters’ fine lines of ignorant, apprehensive and just plain weird. Reality-based horror is always the most frightening and even when things get a little crazy, it’s so entrenched in the issues presented throughout the narrative that it’s hardly even noticeable.
Director: Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams and Bradley Whitford
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