When actor and comedian Jordan Peele announced that his directorial debut was going to be a horror film, I along with I’m sure many others figured it would be a flop, or at best mediocre. Since releasing on February 24 of this year, Get Out has grossed $155 million at the box office, on a budget of $4.5 million. Jordan Peele has become the first African-American writer-director to gross over $100 million on their debut film.
I’m not a huge fan of horror films, especially of the seemingly redundant haunting/possession type movies dominating the market in the past decade. But, Get Out completely caught me off guard as a horror film. It is less horror and more thriller but depending on your race you likely have a different connection and experience with the film.
Get Out is about a young black man visiting his white girlfriend’s parents at their country estate. The girlfriend assures her boyfriend that her parents aren’t racist in slightest, using the fact that they “voted for Obama, twice” as evidence. Awkward racial moments and tension like this greet the audience as soon as the film begins. Honestly, the racially insensitive comments made by white characters to black characters throughout made me feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. The antagonists aren’t neo-Nazis or Deep South rednecks. They are well educated, rich, and seemingly well-meaning white people. Much of the mystery of the film surrounds the sense that everything is not as it seems.
I’m white, and went into the film knowing that it is a horror film about racism. I was worried I would feel like an awkward bystander watching a movie shame white people for how they have treated minorities. What Get Out effectively does is allows everyone to access and be affected by the message of the movie while also keeping them engaged with a quality thriller experience. A key minor character featured prominently during the later part of the movie serves as the comic relief in the ocean of awkward racial tension. Peele uses comedy to provide catharsis for the audience and this is really effective at making the film not too edgy or condemning of certain attitudes.
The music in Get Out is what immediately stuck out to me. The soundtrack was constructed to share black culture and music by using prominent artists like Childish Gambino and blues sounds to construct the score. Featuring these distinct black sounds almost acts like a bridge to white audiences to experience culture they may not be used to. It gives the impression to the viewer that the film is supposed to be viewed from the black perspective and is another way Peele tries to make the film more accessible. The music and sounds of Get Out do an amazing job of setting an eerie mood over the audience.
Another impressive achievement on Peele’s part is creating such a critically renowned film with relatively small time actors. The lead role is filled by newcomer Daniel Kaluuya, and he does an amazing job. I thought in the first act of the movie his character felt rather dry and I couldn’t connect to him but that wasn’t a consequence of poor acting on Kaluuya’s part.
Everyone needs to see Get Out no matter their political beliefs or race. It is not political, it is not a condemnation of white people, and it is not a terrifying film. Get Out is an analysis of what modern racism looks like, a glimpse into how our every action affects others in ways we may not anticipate, and simply a thrilling well-made movie that has plenty of twists. I would also recommend seeing the movie in theaters to get the best experience of the excellent music and sound effects. Get Out is a standout achievement in the horror genre and an intelligent dissection of racism.
5/5 would recommend
By: Lucas Peterson