The Hippo


May 27, 2020








Get Out

Get Out (R)
Film Reviews by Amy Diaz

By Amy Diaz

 A man’s trip to meet his girlfriend’s parents quickly gets creepy in Get Out, a smart, funny horror film written and directed by Jordan Peele of Key & Peele fame.

Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) is nervous about meeting girlfriend Rose Armitage’s (Allison Williams) family, all the more so when she tells him she hasn’t mentioned to her white parents that Chris is black. She tells him not to worry, that though her dad might go on at length about how much he likes President Obama, her mom (Catherine Keener) and dad (Bradley Whitford) are nice people and not racists.
Awkward Obama praise, however, is only a small part of the weirdness Chris encounters when he arrives at the Armitages’ secluded country home. Even Rose’s brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones), who appears to be a menacing psychopath, isn’t the weirdest part of the visit. The Armitages’ groundskeeper Walter (Marcus Henderson) and housekeeper Georgina (Betty Gabriel), both African-American, behave oddly. Chris thinks at first that they may be disapproving of his relationship with Rose, but as time goes on he starts to suspect something stranger, especially after he meets Logan (Lakeith Stanfield). An African-American of about Chris’s age, Logan appears to be in a relationship with a much older white woman who is friends with Rose’s parents. At an uncomfortable party hosted by the Armitages, Chris is at first happy to see Logan but his strange behavior deepens Chris’s suspicions, especially after a camera flash makes Logan suddenly grab Chris and shout “get out!” The movie’s very earliest scenes clue us in on what Chris only suspects, which is that “get out” is not a threat but a desperate warning.
What’s the big scary thing at the center of Get Out? Racism! Specifically, how race shades so many different kinds of interactions and ways that people relate to each other. There is the straightforward-seeming racism of a brief encounter Chris has with a police officer on the way to the Armitages’ house. There is the different kind of racially charged reaction that Chris expects (and receives) when he meets the Armitage family. There is the passively menacing response of the smiling gray-haired couples at the Armitages’ party. Then there are Chris’s own perceptions, what he thinks is behind the behavior of Rose’s brother, why he suspects the Armitages’ staff might not like him. Race, all the twisty ways that it alters people’s perceptions and all the baggage that can come with interracial interactions in America, serves to amp up the tension and menace in Get Out.
It also serves as sort of a clever distraction for a much weirder but still race related plot twist. 
Without giving away too much, the movie heads off somewhere unexpected in a way that allows for some amped up hysteria (and even notes of camp, in the best possible way) at the end of the movie. What appears to be one thing turns out to be a much stranger kind of horror but still a sharp commentary on what it can mean to deny the humanity of a group of people. 
All of this is exceptionally well-constructed, with the movie playing with perception and preconceived ideas as well as giving the viewer the ability to figure some things out for themselves. 
In addition to being smart, Get Out is also funny, as you would expect from Peele. Kaluuya does a good job playing the straight man to the weirdness around him but with considerably more normal reactions that most of your horror movie protagonists. He mixes his “I’m sure it’s nothing” with “something’s going on here.” The meeting with the Armitages is inherently awkward, and so he rolls with the oddness, even as all these individual nothings are clearly adding up in his mind to something. 
We also get humor from scenes with Rod Williams (Lil Rel Howery), Chris’s friend and the person watching his dog while he’s away. Rod is much quicker to be suspicious that Chris is in trouble and his character’s payoff is perfect.   
Get Out is a deeply enjoyable horror film that sticks the landing in a way so many in its genre don’t. A
Rated R for violence, bloody images, and language including sexual references. Written and directed by Jordan Peele, Get Out is an hour and 43 minutes long and distributed by Universal Pictures. 


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