In continuing my theme of "late-to-the-party" reviews...I turn my attention to a film that has been labeled THE horror film of 2017. A film that I was excited for when it hit theaters last February...but, was not able to catch it...for whatever reason. Ladies and Deviants...let us talk about Jordan Peele's directorial debut...Get Out.
I will admit to being a casual fan of the Key and Peele brand of comedy. Like...I enjoy their stuff...but, have already seen most of what they're doing back when The Chappelle Show was around. So...it's fine. I will say, however...that I fucking love their movie stuff. I'm a huge fan of Keanu. Like...a HUGE fan...and crack up...every single time it's on HBO. I also love it whenever either of them pop up in other films. Like Key's involvement in Pitch Perfect 2, for instance.
Yes. I totally just admitted that I watch the Pitch Perfect movies. Come at me.
Anyway...I mention all of that because I was completely floored in every which way when I heard of this film last year. And then that amazing trailer hit...and totally knocked my knees out from under me. I could not see this film soon enough. Well...apparently...I could...seeing as how I'm coming at you with this review like 4 months tardy. But, that is beside the point...because I was excited to see what Jordan looks like as a horror film director. To my credit...I did reserve the film as soon as it hit RedBox. So...there's that.
Anyway...the story begins late at night in a quiet suburb, which, in my humble opinion...is a pretty fucking scary place to begin any film. We notice a black dude walking down the street alone...while, presumably, chatting with his girlfriend on his phone. I dunno know if this would be considered a little spoilery...because it literally happens in the opening moments of the film...but, the poor guy gets spooked by a white car that is seemingly stalking him. Moments later...we see him abducted by the driver of that late model white Porsche. Ok. I will say that after watching the film...this cold open is a bit unnecessary. I mean...I get what it's trying to do...but, I think that it reveals way too much...way too soon. Especially given the sort of...unfolding of the story's particulars.
Anyway...fast forward a few months and we are introduced to Chris and his lovely girlfriend, Rose. Both played with stunning conviction by Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams, respectively. I will note that these two leads are very talented and we should see them go on to bigger projects. Kaluuya already has roles in the awesome Sicario...as well as the anticipated upcoming Black Panther film...and you might know Williams from HBO's Girls. In Get Out...they are both compelling characters that really excel in what they do here. You see...they are a bi-racial couple who are in love with one another. On this particular day that we meet them...they are driving off to introduce Chris to Rose's family out in their house in the country. Seemingly a place where you do not want to get caught with a flat tire in the middle of the night.
Another gripe that I had with the film is that it uses the same exact jump scare that last year's standout film...The Invitation uses effectively in its opening minutes. If you know what I'm referring to...it involves a car and an animal. This particular jump scare sets the tone perfectly in last year's The Invitation...while in this film...it feels a little forced...until a police officer shows up to truly set the tone of the film we are about to watch. This one's a minor complaint...and might be construed as personal taste. However, it is hard to ignore that this particular scene in Get Out feels a little bit pulled from the cheap jump scare department...and you almost see it coming if you've previously watched The Invitation and you are reminded of a couple driving out in the middle of nowhere to the suburbs discussing random stuff. I did enjoy the racially tinged cop scene here, tho.
Speaking of things that you almost see coming...we are then introduced to Rose's parents...and I sort of put everything together in these introductory moments. I kind of knew what the father (Bradley Whitford) was potentially going to do...once we know that he is a talented neurosurgeon. And when it is revealed that the mom (Catherine Keener) is an effective hypnotist...I kind of knew where that story line was going to lead me. I knew who was going to do what to whom...and kind of knew what was to happen. I mean...it's not a far stretch when you consider some of the "hired help" in the film and the father's obvious attitude when we meet him. It's a tad on the groan-inducing side. While...I didn't figure out the details (which are quite original and ambitious)...I pretty much knew which direction we were headed. This isn't a deal-breaker, necessarily...but, I just thought this film was going to be a bit more unpredictable and kick out my knees from under me like that trailer did. I will say, tho...that the good bits in this film did that to me. So...there's that.
Anyway...I won't reveal the stuff that you will surely figure out for yourself early on...because I do care about your viewing experience. And, quite actually...I won't say too much more about the rest of this story...because those will be spoiled for you by the film, itself. I will say that the parts that work...fucking work brilliantly...and make you wish you were watching an all around more powerful film. Because...my next gripe comes in the closing moments of the film. Without ruining that part for you...I feel like it was a missed opportunity by a young black artist to comment about the police brutality stuff that has been going on non-stop for years now. What could have been a powerfully dangerous moment in the finale, instead...became a safe and decompressing one. I mean...I was rooting for our main protagonist to make it out in the end...and well...let's just say that this particular bit plays out quite safely, in terms of the approach. A little too comical, actually...with its TSA reveal, and whatnot.
Having said all of that...I absolutely applauded the film and stomped my goddamn feet (even lit a match!) when it came time for the comeuppance department to deliver...because deliver, this film fucking does...like fucking Jimmie Johns, my friends. Again...I am doing my absolute best to not ruin certain elements for you, my lovely readers...however, the revenge stuff alone is worth the price of admission. The set up...and the actions that reward that set up...is cinematic gold. Jordan Peele - the filmmaker...really strikes the perfect balance when he plays with all of the predator and prey elements within the confines of the story. As I said before...the film certainly delivers on those parts...and convinces the viewer that Peele is a filmmaker to look out for.
In conclusion...Get Out is a finely crafted horror film with equal parts original ambition...and shit that we've seen before. It feels different...and the same...all at once (if that makes any sense...I'm a little sleep-deprived and drunk...so, you're guess is as good as mine). I'm not gonna quite call this film...the horror experience of 2017...but, I will say that it is among the very best films that I've seen so far this year. I will also mention...that Jordan Peele should not be making any big budget popcorn films. He should be making more important stuff like this...and I would LOVE to see his approach on another genre film soon. If the film had a more dangerous conclusion...I think I would have given Get Out...my absolute highest recommendation and held it much higher than I do now. As it is...it's a tension-filled and thought-provoking horror film that stands on its own merits and I am happy that it is receiving this much attention because...in the end...it is a great original film. Just a tad too safe for my taste. Check it out...and let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading,