31 Fright Nights: Halloween 2018, Night #31 – Get Out (2017)

get out

Director: Jordan Peele

Writer(s): Jordan Peele

Studio/Distributor: Blumhouse/Universal Pictures

Budget: $4.5m

Box Office: $251.8m

Release Date: 24 February, 2017

IMDb Rating: 7.8/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%

UK Blu Ray release? Yes

Cast

Daniel Kaluuya – Chris Washington

Allison Williams – Rose Armitage

Catherine Keener – Missy Armitage

Bradley Whitford – Dean Armitage

Caleb Landry Jones – Jeremy Armitage

Marcus Henderson – Walter

Betty Gabriel – Georgina

Lakeith Stanfield – Andrew Logan King

Stephen Root – Jim Hudson

LilRel Howery – Rod Williams

Trailer

Plot According to IMDb

It’s time for a young African-American to meet his white girlfriend’s parents for a weekend in their secluded estate in the woods, but before long, the friendly ambience will give way to a nightmare.

Inertia’s Insight

Not many directors will ever have their first film bestowed with the accolades and commendations that Get Out has received. Whilst no stranger to the entertainment industry, Jordan Peele’s first outing behind the camera in the world of horror is a stark, deeply disturbing psychological horror with perfect political and racial subtext mixed in with some cracking one-liners.

Chris is about to meet his girlfriend’s parents for the first time at their countryside retreat. He’s reluctant, and understandably so: he’s black, she’s white. Even in 2017 we still haven’t advanced enough as a society for racism to be obsolete. He is concerned about acceptance, and despite Rose’s reassurances, his theory of acceptance rings true during an awkward encounter with a police officer on the way to their house.

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Rose’s parents are warm and welcoming, but there’s always a tickle at the back of our mind that leaves us guessing. There are clues, too; not just their overfamiliarity with him but also their determination to recognise that he is black. The Barack Obama line is a perfect example, one that is both funny and uncomfortable. This is where Peele excels, expertly building tension and a subtle sense of paranoia, leaving us hanging on ever word from the Armitage family in order to understand what their ulterior motive is.

The paranoia that Chris feels is felt by the audience. We know it’s right for him to feel this way, even though we wish he didn’t. But it’s the black on black sabotage that is strikingly odd. Just why is the maid and the gardener acting so strange? The scene with the maid where Chris talks to her in the bedroom is an incredible and unsettling piece of acting, aided by Peele’s expert framing of the shot.

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Peele & co have built enough anticipation with trailers and posters for us to know that something is definitely not right with Rose’s family, but it’s the what that keeps us hooked. We naturally veer towards slavery, as the dynamics of the black and white people at one of the party’s seems to indicate. Yet when it is revealed, it’s even worse than you could imagine. In part complimentary but in whole just utterly deplorable.

Daniel Kaluuya gives an impressive performance as Chris. Sweet and tender, his talent lies in his ability to tell the story through his face. The most notable scene as featured on the poster is shocking, but it’s Chris that sells it. It’s no wonder it’s become iconic and synonymous with the movie.

The party scene is superb. For most of the film, Peele’s horror comes from these shocking scenes, all psychological and suggestive. When Chris takes a picture of one of the guests, what ensues is just crazy, only furthering our belief that we really don’t know what’s happening here, despite what we may think.

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The scene with her brother really opens up the dynamic though, as his actions go someway to revealing their intentions. It all builds to the final act, where the mystery is revealed, a skewered version of idolisation that veers towards the manic. Chris’ fight for survival is fraught with obstacles, the comedic tones from his best friend providing us with some much needed relief.

For a first film, Jordan Peele has crafted one of the decade’s best psychological horror films. Astute, subversive, comedic and terrifyingly real, a film indebted to Trump’s America.

Who knew a cup and saucer could be so scary?

Inertia’s Ideal Score ( out of 5)

★★★★★

Trivia

  • The film was shot in just 28 days
  • Stayed in the US box office top 10 for its first two months of release
  • Jordan Peele cited Night of the Living Dead as an inspiration for making his feature film debut
  • The stark black and white cinematic poster showing a cropped close-up of the protagonists’ eyes is an inverted reference to the poster of French film La Haine

Quotes

JIM HUDSON: I want your eyes, man. I want those things you see through.


Happy Halloween!

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