Hot Take: Actually works better as satire and comedy which is no surprise with Jordan Peele directing. And how often is a horror thriller a crowd pleaser?
Get Out is a well structured, satirical horror flick from half of the dynamic duo that brought us Key & Peele for so many years. It’s great to see both Keegan-Michael Key (who has nothing to do with this project unless you count an uncredited appearance in a photo you’re probably not going to catch) and Jordan Peele (Get Out’s writer and director) flourishing in their post-Key & Peele life. By the time I saw Get Out, it was already a box office phenomenon with an estimated opening weekend of $30+ million. That’s more than 6 times its $4.5 million budget and easily the box office winner for the week.
The film more often than not feels like satire and comedy than horror thriller. There are a few jump scares here and there and plenty of odd, off-putting characters throughout Get Out but it’s a thought provoking horrific tale that sends up the classic Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? plot with much more malevolent intent. Peele’s directorial début bounces back and forth between witty satire and occasional moments of dread that give the horror flick a rare feeling that keeps you somewhat off-balance but also hurts the film’s overall scare factor as it never gives you that nightmare-inducing image or scene. Instead, it’s a thinking man’s horror story and satire throughout.
The film’s premise — Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams) have been dating for 5 months and it’s time to meet the parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) who don’t know he’s black — is a great set-up for the tale we’re set to watch unfold. From the start, Chris has to deal with an encounter with a racially motivated confrontation with local police, his friend (Lil Rel Howery) in his ear warning him to not go and one odd interaction with Rose’s family after another that has Chris thinking maybe something isn’t quite copacetic at the Armitage house. There are also two black people who work for the Armitages — Walter (Marcus Henderson) and Georgina (Betty Gabriel) — and both seem off to Chris who is trying to make sense of what is unfolding around him.
The strong third act makes up for some of the clunkier moments of the first two acts. The script is smart, the acting is solid and the topic proves to be quite timely thanks to our polarizing political climate. It often feels like an elongated version of one of the more pointed, less funny Key & Peele sketches. That’s not an indictment of the movie, either. The funnier Key & Peele sketches are riotous when it comes to laughter and this film never quite reaches that apex albeit having plenty of satirical laughs. This bodes well for the future of Peele as a writer/director and we get to look forward to more work from him not just with his comic partner of many years but his solo work as well.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Lil Rel Howery
As Chris’s friend and TSA agent Rod, Howery is at the center of much of the blatant comic relief throughout the film. It’s likely we’ll see more of Lil Rel after this performance and he’ll be yet another Last Comic Standing alum to be relevant.
- A Spooky, Spot On Score
The score which features blues influences and Swahili voices is subtly unnerving and adds a spooky element to the film. It’s an excellent choice in a movie filled with good choices.
- Does Erika Alexander Age?
Remember cousin Pam from The Cosby Show? (I know she’s been in a lot since then but she’ll always be cousin Pam.) She’s 47 now and has a bit part in Get Out but she doesn’t look any part of 47.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Seriously? A Windows Phone?
Who the hell has a Windows Phone? And this is coming from someone who had a Windows Phone for a minute.