Get Out is Jordan Peele’s directorial debut and is a different take on the horror genre. This is one of the most original horror films of the year so far and I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting what it turned out to be. Getting surprised by a film is a rare commodity these days and Get Out proved to be one of those films wherein you go in expecting a specific type of film and are completely taken aback by what you get. The trailers of the film suggested that this could be a film where a couple is visiting the girl’s household. The boyfriend being black is apprehensive about the visit as he feels that it might not go down the way the girl is expecting it to go down. He is quickly proved right as some seriously weird stuff starts happening and most of it feels like a reflection of his color. That’s what the trailers tell you.
However, the film has nothing to do with the color of the protagonist’s skin. It is probably one of the most racially neutral films that you can think off. But the neutrality is guised so well for so long that you get a real shock when you actually realize what the film is about. I cannot review this film without giving away some major plot points. Hence if you don’t like your films spoiled and you haven’t seen this film yet, then it would be better if you watched the film first and then read this review. This is a horror film at heart and a very good one at that. Towards the end, it turns into a sort of a slasher flick but that just momentary. Peele treats you to an atmospheric horror film when you were expecting a racially charged slice and dice film.
The film starts off with us coming to learn about Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a black photographer and his creative pursuits as we walk through his modest but beautiful home. We learn that he is in love with Rose (Allison Williams) who is preparing to take him to visit her parents. Chris is apprehensive and after a brief discussion, they start off on the journey. The couple meets with an accident when a deer is accidentally hit by the Rose. We, for the first time, feel that Chris has a past with hit and runs as we see the effect the incident has on him. After their arrival at the household, things seem normal for a while even though Rose doesn’t exactly like the way her parents are interacting with him. Chris, however, has no problems with their treatment. He meets their servants Georgiana (Betty Gabriel) and Walter (Marcus Henderson) both of whom feel very weird in their mannerisms and overall behavior.
As the couple retreat for a good night’s sleep, some seriously weird stuff happens and Chris is hypnotized by Rose’s mom. He still believes that all is well but a meeting with another African American called Andrew Logan King (Lakeith Stanfield) convinces Chris that all is not well and he tries to leave. It is now that the true motive of the family is revealed and the shock of all shocks is the fact that Rose is in on it. Her family has mastered a method of implanting the portion of the brain of a dying sick man into a healthier young man and Chris has actually been coerced into coming to their house for an auction where his body and mind will be sold to the highest bidder. The man who ultimately buys him is blind and does so because of his good sight which is proved by his knack for capturing thought provoking images.
By the time Chris understands the plot he is already being prepped and hypnotized for the procedure. At this time the film actually turns into a horror flick. While we are scared to bits for the well-being of Chris and are thinking how he will escape the family, we at the same time also want the family to be punished. Peele gives us exactly what we wanted out of the film. In one word, Retribution. Peele is able to constantly play with your mind. He gives you beliefs and possibilities and then takes them all away in the end. This, while a great ploy to have an engaging drama, could also play spoilt sport if not done properly. However, that is not the case here as the film is tight, superbly edited and wonderfully acted. Ad defining factor for the film was its cinematography. It is able to extract suspense by the manner in which it is presented. There are a lot of close-ups which tells you a lot more about the people in question through expressions than what could have been achieved through dialogs.
Daniel Kaluuya delivers a superlative performance. What caught my attention the most was his facial expressions. The man doesn’t speak a lot in the beginning and lets his expression do the talking. The scene where he meets the parents for the first time, the scene where he is hypnotized for the first time and also the one towards the end where he learns the whole plot are extremely well acted and leave a certain type of taste in your mouth. It wouldn’t have been the case had he not got his expressions spot on. Allison Williams is top notch too even though she doesn’t have much to do in the second half. Betty Gabriel and Lakeith Stanfield have two brief scenes with Kaluuya that are superbly done. The scene with Stanfield is especially important. Catherine Keener who plays the mother was the most fearsome character for me. The scene where she hypnotizes Chris affected me at different levels. The way she says “you smoke in front of my little girl” conveys a lot about her character. There is such a hatred and pronouncement of power in her voice and yet she is so calm that it will send a shiver down your spine. The rest of the cast do their bit effectively too.
I loved this film and I think it is not only original but extremely well done. The amount of emotions that this film is able to extract is extensive and affecting. For a film of this nature to be able to do so is in itself a great thing. The splendid performances and the engaging nature of the content and the convincing scares makes this one of the better horror films of this year so far.
Rating : 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)