“Get Out” brings scares, laughs, and more

I have to admit, if I had not already seen the great reviews that first-time director and writer Jordan Peele’s horror flick “Get Out” had received prior to my viewing, I would not have expected much. The “MADtv” and “Key and Peele” alum certainly knows how to make you laugh, but can he make a chill run down your spine?

 

I got my answer soon enough, and it was a resounding “Yes.” Not only did “Get Out” leave me thoroughly entertained, it also left me considering the intriguing social commentary that underscored the film in not-so-subtle ways.

 

Starring “Black Mirror’s” Daniel Kaluuya, the story centers on a black man named Chris Washington who joins his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams), on a trip to the Armitage estate. Having never met his significant other’s family, Chris is assured by Allison that their interracial relationship would not be problematic.

 

Chris finds Allison’s relatives to be friendly enough, but it is the off-putting nature of the estate’s housekeeper and groundskeeper, who are both black, which keeps him questioning the nature of things going on at the country home. Chris finds himself unsure of who he can trust at the estate, a clear analogy to the state of African-Americans in the United States today.

 

The film also touches more specifically on issues such as “soft” racism and cultural appropriation. It should be made clear, though, that this film can be enjoyed regardless of your politics or opinions on race relations. While the social commentary clearly plays a large role, the film is too well-done to be put off by any themes that one may disagree with.

 

I will refrain from touching on any further plot points to prevent spoilers, but the story get very strange. “Get Out” has plenty of scenes that emit a creepy vibe, but also plenty of comic relief, mostly thanks to the performance of Lil Rel Howery, who plays Chris’s friend Rod Williams. The film also has a few very effective jump-scares; these scenes in particular have an interesting quality of making you laugh shortly after you are done knocking over your drink.

 

Michael Abels’s score for the film does a wonderful job of setting the mood, and Toby Oliver’s cinematography stands out from the opening scene. Kaluuya, who is British, never slips in his American accent and gives a superb performance in a film that required acting diversity. Some scenes have him humorously conveying incredulity at the behavior of his hosts, another have him panicking at his predicament and another depicts him breaking down as he reflects on past tragedy.

Whether or not you are a fan of horror films, I would highly recommend seeing “Get Out.” The scares are countered with laughs and the plot is bizarre but brilliant. It seems that every year one or two horror films that rise above the rest in their ingenuity and that highlight came early this year. “Get Out” will certainly be on my “Best of 2017” list.

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