The feeling of awkward, unnerving tension is what will keep you hooked throughout watching Get Out. Aside from the initial moments introducing you to our hero and his girlfriend, the feeling of dread never leaves you and you aren’t ever really sure why.
Get Out is a horror movie but not in the more modern sense. It is scary but not terrifying and you won’t feel like you have to watch the film through your fingers either. The worst feeling you get is a pit of the stomach dread or an excruciating feeling of embarrassment as Daniel Kaluuya’s potential new in-laws make social faux-pas concerning their daughter’s black boyfriend.
That is the key to the story here and why some people view Get Out as a comedy. Cringe-humour is a popular form of comedy and in the first act, this is a key to the story and interactions. Some will laugh at how inappropriate some of the comments are, from Bradley Whitford’s Father-in-law explaining how he voted for Barack Obama through to Caleb Landry Jones’ brother-in-law trying to show-off with a test of strength. It is all ludicrous and highlights the social awkwardness felt between upper-class White Americans and more lower-class African-Americans.
The comedy is soon undercut for something much darker though. The supporting black characters act strange, awkward and distant with no actual explanation. The mystery surrounding what is happening at this house is what makes the film so terrifying and leaves you unable to relax. These are sold brilliantly by both Marcus Henderson as Walter and Betty Gabriel as Georgina, particularly one scene involving an unsettling smile coupled with a single, devastating tear.
The performances help sell the terror of Get Out. The aforementioned Kaluuya is fantastic in what seems to be his first major lead, while both Whitford and Catherine Keener as the creepy parents create this sense of horror without ever actually trying to scare you. This isn’t a film of “jump-scares” and cattle-prod moments but just the tense feeling you get from not quite knowing what on earth is happening.
Of course, the film has to eventually give away it’s secrets and when it does, it doesn’t disappoint. You’ll actually feel quite impressed by how clever the writing is and it will make you re-evaluate scenes and actions of characters as their motives become much clearer. The “twist” is enough to keep you engaged and the slow-building tension finally breaks into something resembling a much more conventional horror movie. Writer and director Jordan Peele manages to hold together both types of movie well and the conflicting types of horror don’t clash but manage to take you on a rollercoaster of entertainment.
Overall, Get Out is a horror movie with very few scares but an overwhelming feeling of dread throughout. You’ll be unnerved by the strange actions, unclear story and general awkwardness throughout but you’ll never feel any less engaged or thrilled as pieces fall into place and the horror becomes an action-focused and thrilling watch.
Rating – 5!
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)