Get Out is this year’s break-out hit (and deservedly so)


By Kamryn Olds, Arts Editor

A young black male casually walks down the street in a neighborhood that is unfamiliar to him. The tone is ominous. The street is empty. A white car with tinted windows begins to follow him. Despite some slightly witty quips that he mumbles to himself, one cannot deny that the man is uncomfortable and scared. With nowhere to go and nowhere to hide on the partially lit, empty street, there are very few options as to how he will be able to escape this car that is seemingly persistent in tailing his every movement. The man turns around, attempting to travel in the opposite direction. But, then he hears the music, and he turns once more to see not only that the car has stopped, but the door is open and no one is inside. Confused, the man quietly mumbles the words, “What the f—?” before he is violently grabbed from behind by an all-black figure wearing a motorcycle helmet who slowly chokes him until he is unconscious. In the background, the playful yet horrifically disconcerting song continues to play, as its voices sing together in a repetitive and harmonious drawl: “Run, Rabbit, Run, Rabbit, Run, Run, Run.”

This is the opening scene to the horror film and breakout hit, Get Out, which tells the tale of a young black photographer in an interracial relationship who goes away to meet his girlfriend’s family for the very first time. Needless to say, things go awry.

Of course, at first glance, the concept seems simple, even reminiscent of the 1967 Stanley Kramer film and essential Sidney Poitier flick, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and, thus, its premise is one that we have seen time and time again in Hollywood films, to varying levels of success.

Still, there are many ways in which Get Out separates itself from your average romantic comedy-drama.

Starring British actor David Kaluuya, who was previously most well-known for his appearance in the dystopian drama series Black Mirror, as well as American actress Allison Williams, core cast member of the HBO comedy series Girls, the cast of film definitely reflects its mix of horror and comedic elements, with each member turning out a uniquely superb and off-kilter performance.

Comedian and performer Lil Rel Howery acts as Rod, a friend of the protagonist, Chris. Despite technically only serving as comedic relief and even falling into the category of the “sassy black best friend,” it is difficult to see what the movie would have been without him, as he consistently plays his role to a tee, and is a captivating and entertaining presence each time he appears on screen.

Still, despite all of the incredible acting talent that served to make this film unique and subversive of the Hollywood trap into which it could have easily fallen, it is truly the writing and vision of its director, Jordan Peele, which takes this concept and turns it into a truly amazing film.

Living his life as a black man in America, it is obvious that Peele wore his heart on his sleeve in the making of this feature, as the film harbors abundant metaphors for the slavery and racism that has become historically synonymous with the African-American experience. All of this is told through an unusual and darkly comedic lens, with which Peele obviously became familiar during his four-year-long stint on the popular Comedy Central sketch show, Key & Peele. Still, the talented director takes this a step further, additionally transforming the film into a character study in a way not typical of many similar horror films, and peeking into the psyche of each of them, critically analyzing how they interact with one another and questioning the driving forces behind many of their actions.

Funny, poignant, thoughtful, scary, entertaining, and timely, Get Out had me on the edge of my seat throughout the entirety of its 1 hour and 44 minute run time, making me fall in love with movies all over again as only great films can. And, in the theater, I realized that many of my fellow audience members felt similarly as, for the first time in a long time, I found that there was a long round of applause as the film’s ending credits began to roll.

Thus, overall, all I can advise is to believe the hype. I am not afraid to proclaim my joy at seeing Peele receiving such praise for a good film that could have just as easily faded into the background.

Of course, only time will tell whether or not Get Out will go down as one of the great American horror cult classics. For now, we can definitely say that it has been one of the best films of the year so far.