Let’s face it. It’s hard to want to get out of the house and see a movie in theaters these days. Because the way things are going, $15 will soon be the new norm for movie tickets instead of closer to $10, while there are so many other choices content-wise that you can watch in the comfort of your own home. It all makes going to the movies seem like a bit of an archaic tradition. So being someone with fairly archaic interests, I realize I’m a bit in the minority of people who will always prefer to see any new movie I’m going to go to the trouble of seeing in theaters.
That’s because I still believe movies are a medium that is meant to be seen on a big screen with an audience. But a movie like Get Out, the debut directing effort from Jordan Peele, is one in particular that reminds of that belief. And I wouldn’t even say I saw it with that packed of a crowd (though I suppose it was packed for a Thursday night), and yet was still able to feel the weird push-and-pull of catharsis that you can only get from seeing a really good horror movie with a bunch of strangers.
You could say a good deal of Get Out‘s catharsis hinges on its pretty overt racial overtones, as it centers on Chris (played by Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend Rose Armitage (Allison Williams), who head out to Rose’s parents’ estate for a nice peaceful weekend in the woods. Chris, however, is black, which shouldn’t be a problem for Rose’s supposedly open-minded white parents, considering we don’t worry about that kind of stuff anymore, right?
Well, it becomes clear that things aren’t necessarily that way at casa de Armitage, as Chris begins contemplating the same idea that we all kind of came to terms with this past year – that a lot of America is secretly racist. He starts noticing strange things around the Armitage’s property, such as the uniformly black help and their odd behavior. And for fear of spoilers, I’ll just say things get both weirder and realer from there…
What I mean by that, is that the way Get Out‘s second half unfolds is very slyly indicative of what racism is in America these days, while also going into pretty bonkers territory at the same time. We see the white characters lean less into the racial aspects of why such weird things are happening, even though there are clearly racial elements involved in it. Which is interesting, because the movie would seem to lean too hard into its racial subject matter in its opening scenes. Meanwhile, the second half gives it the freedom to indulge its classic horror tropes, but with real world implications (and yes, I realize this is all very vague, but you know, spoilers).
If there’s another key to this movie’s success, other than the fact that its insanity is rooted in reality, it’d also be the movie’s dashes of humor. I don’t know if I was expecting this to be a straight horror movie with no laughs, as a way of Peele disassociating himself from his comedic persona. But Get Out has it’s share of comedic moments to give it some breathing room in between all the racial and thematic tension, mostly courteous of Lil Rel Howery.
Much like in 2012’s Cabin In The Woods, which also takes place at a spooky property in the woods, Get Out wisely casts Bradley Whitford as an authority figure who’s both goofy and scary at the same time. Which brings me to another idea Get Out had me thinking about, which is that horror and comedy strike me as the two genres that do best with with an audience, since they’re the two genres that beg for a physical reaction. And considering this movie delivers on both laughs and legitimate scares (though mostly scares), it’s well worth getting out of your living room to see, though it very well may have the power to send you scrambling back to your sunken couch and never coming back.