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'Get Out' Film Review: A bloody, suspenseful and laugh-out-loud funny critique of racism in today's America

February 24, 2017Ben MK

Horror movies seldom get topical. But when they do, the result is usually so far removed from our own reality that it registers as a cautionary tale at best. Get Out, on the other hand, is one of those rare horror movies that isn't just unafraid to tackle touchy subject matter, it smashes it head on.

Blending Meet the Parents, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and The Stepford Wives, the Twilight Zone-esque story centers on 26-year-old Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a talented photographer who also happens to be a black man dating a white woman named Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). But even though this is 2017, that doesn't mean Chris and Rose's relationship isn't going to raise eyebrows. And so when he's invited to join Rose's family at their upstate home in an affluent, mostly white suburb for the weekend, Chris is apprehensive, to say the least.

Little does Chris realize that there's more to be wary about than just a little racism. For not long after he meets Rose's neurosurgeon father, Dean (Bradley Whitford), and her psychiatrist mother, Missy (Catherine Keener), does he begin to suspect that something exceedingly weird is afoot. From the odd behavior of the Armitages' maid, Georgina (Betty Gabriel), and their groundskeeper, Walter (Marcus Henderson), to Rose's creepy brother, Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones), the more time Chris spends with the family, the more he regrets accepting their invitation.

Suffice to say, when it finally comes time for Chris to heed the advice of the movie's title, it may already be too late. And not to spoil the film's big reveal, but by its final half-hour, Get Out truly begins to live up to its moniker, delivering a climax that's at once bloody, applause-worthy and laugh-out-loud funny. Consider it a cathartic release from the darkly satirical psychological tension that the movie gradually builds over the course of its first two-thirds, which sees Chris slowly losing his grip on reality after he's hypnotized by Missy (which isn't as silly as it sounds).

Aside from its obligatory third-act twist, the other surprise here is that the film is written and directed by Key and Peele's Jordan Peele, who follows up his big screen debut, last summer's Keanu, with a complete 180-degree-turn from what audiences might expect. Granted, there are moments when Get Out comes off like a Key and Peele sketch — and Lil Rel Howery, who plays Chris' concerned friend, a TSA agent named Rod, is hilarious as the comic relief — but oftentimes the humor is more reflexive, arising out of the uncomfortable, deep-seated truth of the situation.

After all, Get Out isn't the type of movie to dance around the elephant in the room. And while other films might relegate the topic of race to the background, reducing it to subtext, Get Out places it squarely at the forefront, zeroing in on it as its driving theme. The result isn't just a pointed social commentary that sadly proves more relevant in today's America than it would have several years ago; it's also a prime example of the heights that can be achieved in the horror genre when filmmakers not only strive to instill fear, but are equally fearless themselves.

Get Out releases February 24th, 2017 from Universal Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of R for violence, bloody images, and language including sexual references. Its runtime is 1 Hr. 43 Mins.

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