It’s curious that whenever something in a movie gives us a good scare, we emit a laugh afterward. It’s plausible to assume then that horror and comedy are two sides of the same coin. Everyone was confused when Jordan Peele, a comedian, announced that he would be directing Get Out, a film that defines itself as a horror picture. In hindsight, it looks like nobody else could’ve tackled the project with such panache.
Get Out is the latest film from Blumhouse pictures, a company that has made a name for itself by releasing well-directed horror films with small budgets that oftentimes make their money back in tenfold. The story centers around an interracial couple that is taking a weekend trip to the girlfriend’s parents’ estate who are unaware that he is black. The story accelerates when the main character, Chris, played by David Kaluuya, discovers something very unsettling and almost sinister going on beneath the surface. Peele brings a unique perspective to the horror genre by creating tension out of the awkwardness that can be found in interactions between black people and those who are ignorant to their own racism. The film excels at unsettling you and felt very refreshing for most of the runtime. Peele was able to creep out the audience without simply relying on a dark and eerie backdrop and an overbearing soundtrack composed of sounds of the theremin. The film unfortunately does resort to some more traditional horror tropes in the last act but all is forgivable considering that the film’s central idea is fresh enough and permeates into every scene of the film.
Jordan Peele’s comedy chops certainly show as Get Out is every bit as funny as it is frightening. The shining star comes in the form of Chris’s detective friend played by LilRel Howery. Every line out of this guy’s mouth had me laughing out loud, however, the film never went into full Key and Peele territory. It was funny without being absurd or over-the-top. In fact, the flow between comedy and horror was so skillful it makes me want to see another film from Peele as soon as possible. In addition to Howery, every actor in the film gives a strong performance, from Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener as the parents to Allison Williams as the girlfriend. I honestly found myself absolutely captivated by Kaluuya as the lead. Every shot of him onscreen had him radiating out of the celluloid, as he exhibited acting chops that made him more than capable of leading a film.
Ultimately Get Out is a very good little horror film. It’s very contained, so if you’re looking for something grandiose or over-the-top you probably shouldn’t get your hopes up. It does go a little traditional horror in the end and there are moments that feel included simply to elicit a scare out of the audience without stemming from a logical progression of events. But hopefully Get Out will inspire some amount of fear out of you while instilling some humorous joy as well. If anything, I hope it means that we’ll get something more from Jordan Peele in the future.
All images are from Get Out, a BlumHouse Pictures Production