Photo from heavy.com
By Joseph Goncalves
It is a rare thing nowadays to go to a movie theater and have your fellow viewers clapping and cheering during a film. To see it happen during an original horror film that serves as a directorial debut; perhaps that has happened before, but that is exactly how the theater reacted this weekend to “Get Out.”
Many were intrigued by “Get Out” months ago when the eye-catching trailer started showing in movie theaters and online, teasing just enough about the premise of the film while still shrouding it in a veil of mystery. When reviews started coming in and it started receiving almost universal praise, with at the time of this review having a score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes with 135 reviews in, the hype for this film was palpable.
I am elated to say that it absolutely blew away my already heightened expectations.
For those who have not seen the trailer, (and if you have not I would suggest doing so before you continuing to read this review), the premise goes something like this. Our protagonist, Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), goes to his girlfriend, Rose’s (Allison Williams), parents’ house for the first time. The actions of Rose’s wealthy upper-class family toward Chris are at first uncomfortable and unsettling and soon turn into something much more sinister.
From the second Chris arrives at the home, mysteries are simultaneously presented and unraveled, leaving the audience constantly questioning every character in the film. The air of tension and low key hostility is tangible, and it helps to add to the sense of unease the film so strongly personifies.
The last half hour of the film is where “Get Out” truly shines, giving a master class on catharsis and satisfaction. It keeps you rooting for Chris every second of the way. At the same time, it gives some twists and turns in those last several minutes that would make M. Night Shyamalan’s jaw drop.
Perhaps what makes this film more meaningful than the vast majority of horror movies to come out in the past several years is the nuance that lies beneath its narrative. Hidden not too deep below the surface of its chest tightening atmosphere lies some thought provoking and innovative satire. It plays with the tropes that many films in the genre have become known for and turns them on its head while playing with the larger theme of race in a way that is completely unexpected.
The real icing on this delicious, multi-layered, horror cake are the technical aspects of the film. The camera work compounds the constant tension, and you will be frantically searching every corner of the frame. The sound design pummels you, every hit and jump scare rattles the chest and you feel it in your core. “Get Out” has a level of polish that most horror films can only hope to attain.
No doubt there will be countless articles and video essays in the coming week dissecting the philosophy and deeper connections made in “Get Out,” but I will leave that to wiser minds on different platforms. There are so many talking points here, and it is one of those films that, after you leave the theater, you just want to sit down and have some intense “diner talk” about it.
It is one of the best horror experiences I have had in years, and one we will be talking about for some time to come.