The new film Get Out proves a unique point. The line between horror and comedy generally is very blurred. Either genre takes a simple concept, like a man driving to work one day, and can take it to the extreme for thrills or laughs, or sometimes both. That man could run into a bus full of clowns and decide to join them and it’d be a comedy. He could also run over an old woman and be haunted by her spirit as it seeks revenge, which would make it horror.
Think about The Exorcist, a film that some consider the scariest movie ever. Now, imagine if the Benny Hill song was playing when Regan was showering her mother with pea soup. That unsettling scene would now be funny. So it’s no surprise that Jordan Peele, one half of the comedy duo Key & Peele, was able to break free from his comedy roots to write and direct a horror film.
Get Out takes a simple premise, a guy meeting his girlfriend’s parents, and twists it (and twists it some more) into something very dark and suspenseful. Add to the fact that the guy, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is black, while his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) is white, and that simple premise already has a new wrinkle. Again, this could have been played for laughs or scares, and Peele flexes his horror muscles here by delivering one hell of a thriller, a thriller dripping in social commentary. In fact, Get Out comes off as an amazing Twilight Zone episode, told in long form. Rod Serling and his writers always tried to inject their stories with some kind of social commentary, and Peele does the same thing here.
Rose takes Chris upstate to visit her parents, played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener. He also meets her weird brother, played by Caleb Landry Jones. Chris tries to fit in and be part of the family, but there is a dark and terrible secret at play here, and nothing is as it seems. As Chris begins to discover that Rose’s family are not what they seem, his simple weekend trip becomes a fight for his very freedom — and his soul.
Get Out doesn’t solely rely on racial issues for its story, which is good. Granted, race plays a huge part of the conflict here, but the audience isn’t beaten over the head with it. It’s just one of the tools that Jordan Peele uses to his advantage. His directing style is very well suited for horror, as his shots are well blocked and he knows how to create a good jump scare. Also, its evident that he’s watched Exorcist III.
Peele also uses music effectively to create mood, and the performances he gets from his actors, especially from Kaluuya and his TSA agent friend Rod, played by Lil Rel Howery, who serves as the much needed comic relief, prove that his is a voice to be heard in the horror genre. He’s arguably one of the funniest men on the planet, and he might be better as a horror director. Let that sink in for a bit.
It’s also nice that there’s a horror film that doesn’t rely on gore to create thrills. The tension in Get Out comes primarily from the uncomfortable situations on screen, and the mystery of how and why things are happening as they are happening. It takes a deft storytelling hand to be able to pull that off, and once again, Peele comes through.
Get Out is a high level conceptual thriller that doesn’t disappoint, and generates unease and some jumps as a comedy would create laughs. Jordan Peele and his cast have delivered a wonderfully dark, twisted story that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled. The line between comedy and horror is a very tight one, and Get Out serves as a marker in the sand, and Jordan Peele — a man who was last seen hilariously chasing a kitten through the Los Angeles crime underworld in 2016’s Keanu — has proved that he is a master on either side of that line. I, for one, can’t wait to see what he does next.
Get Out is rated R and is in theaters now.
TheHDRoom may be paid a small commission for any services or products ordered through select links on this page.