When I first heard that Jordan Peele wrote and directed a horror movie named Get Out, I felt unease. The last movie he wrote was Keanu and that wasn’t a very good movie. Keanu was fine, but it was a major studio release that relied too heavily on cliched story elements and offered very little that was new and exciting.
But maybe moving to horror will spark something different. And maybe directing will give Peele the freedom to express is own voice. And maybe being produced by Blumhouse means his movie will get made with little interference.
Yup. That all turned out to be true. Except maybe the horror part.
Get Out is not a horror movie. It’s a comedic thriller? A thrilling comedy? I don’t know. But let’s not get bogged down in labels. Get Out is itself and itself is great.
A lot of the joy that comes from Get Out is gained from watching in full and active movie theater. If the theater is at capacity, odds are that you will get a shrieker. These shrill voices play an important role of punctuating jump scares. And since Get Out isn’t really a horror movie, it relies on jump scares for the horror elements.
Average movie-goers like you and I can see the jump scare coming from a mile away. But the added dog whistle blaring from the back row will set you on edge and move you from your seat.
If you are lucky enough you will also be sharing the cinema with a large swath of woke folks.
How can you be sure if your seatmates are woke? Was there a constant reply of audible voices whenever Rod spoke? They might be woke. Was there loud, nervous laughter whenever a white person said something in reference to black people? Was the police presence the scariest part of the movie? Yeah, they woke.
If there’s shrieking and wokeness, you’re in the perfect watching condition.
But what if you were unsatisfied with your movie going experience? Was watching Get Out just kind of okay, bordering on boring? Chances are you were in the wrong theater. Were you in a suburban theater? That might be an issue. I recommend going to your closest metropolitan center.
I saw Get Out at the AMC in downtown Seattle. This ensured an wide array of personalities and cultures were present. The eclectic blend of viewers produced the perfect blend of reactions. Disgust, hilarity, nervousness, offensiveness: all in the same collective moment.
No, not that kind of black comedy. I mean comedy that tackles serious issues in ways that can be uncomfortable. If you’re a fan of “civility” and “no politics” then you should avoid– wait, no. You need to sit your ass down in a movie theater seat and watch Get Out.
If Get Out makes you feel uncomfortable about being white, then you are exactly who needs to watch Get Out. Open your mind. Experience the world through other people’s eyes. Are the black and brown people in the theater reacting differently than you? Why do you think that is? Perhaps they’ve lead a very different life than you and this movie is striking a chord with their experience.
Structurally, Get Out is solid. There is a reason for everything. There is meaning behind little moments. Seemingly unimportant details carry big metaphors. I can’t commend Get Out enough for having such a keen eye for attention.
Which is why the little loose ends I noticed bug me. Everything else is so purposeful, how did this one detail get missed? Photo albums just sitting out in easy to find spaces. Midnight sprinting sessions just for the sake of being spooky. Completely unhygienic medical facilities. These bits are painfully protruding from an otherwise sleek machine.
And I would be remiss to not mention the obvious similarities between Get Out and Being John Malkovich, right down to the inclusion of Catherine Keener. I kept getting distracted by the obvious similarities, almost to the point of thinking Charlie Kaufman is living inside of Jordan Peele. But Keener’s appearance leads me to believe the filmmakers were self-aware and it’s meant as an homage.
Get Out is technically sound and wonderfully confrontational. I appreciate how Jordan Peele subscribed to the Edgar Wright style of film making where the film can fold in on itself with almost perfect symmetry. Everything fits. Almost. Peele’s first go of directing a picture is remarkable and I can’t wait for his next project.
You should get out and see Get Out in the theater. I have a feeling that the film won’t hold up as a small viewing experience. You need to watch it with a large group of people. Laying in bed with our laptop and a bowl of Fruit Loops ain’t gonna cut it.