Get Out the movie: what makes this low-budget horror comedy mystery suspense movie worth a look? Originality and playful politics.
A young black man goes with his white girlfriend to see her parents at their remote woodland mansion.
Bad things happen. See this trailer.
Get out the movie: a recommendation
A top reviewer and 100% trusted person recommended Get Out to me in March, but I only managed to see it on a weekend visit to Istanbul in late April and it is only now appearing in Vienna (question: do movies come later to German-speaking countries because it takes time to dub them?)
Scary and gruesome moments
Get Out is, indeed, worth a look – if you don’t mind some scary and gruesome moments. Top qualities:
- It is gripping from start to (almost – see below) finish, with twists, an appealing hero and a continual sense of suspense based not on shocks but on characters and plot.
- The storyline is strong: none of the “forget the story, slap on the special effects” hokum which drains the potential of so many movies.
- Combined with 1&2, the acting and film-making are classy. Result: you are so immersed in the action you forget you’re in the cinema until the credits roll.
- Jeopardy: the “what if this all goes wrong?” premise is frightening. You want the protagonist to survive.
- The bad guys are thoroughly evil.
- The plot revolves around race. All the good guys are black; all the bad guys are white. In fact, to go a step further, all the white characters are evil; and while the movie features a couple of minor black characters who are not actively good, none are actually bad. This element adds a whole layer of texture to the film, cf reviews in e.g. The Guardian (“real issues in an unlikely context… [saying] something painfully true about them” or The Daily Mail (“The two-faced horrors of racism”).
- As others have observed, you will never trust a tea-cup again. Get Out deserves an award for this alone.
Why not 10/10? Well, towards the end, Get Out has moments which are weaker than the rest of the movie. Some plot devices (evil-plan-revealing snapshots left in a suddenly-open cupboard, otiose video explaining the evil history of the bad guys) are almost Austin Powers-like in their crudity.
But these are mini-quibbles. Get Out – whose genre is categorised by ratings website Rotten Tomatoes as “Comedy, Horror, Mystery and Suspense” – is enough of a comedy for you to laugh uneasily as, for example, someone uses the antlers of a stag’s head off a wall as an impaling weapon. Best of all, right until the final moment of the movie you are subject to sufficient suspense to fret that maybe one final ghastly thing may be about to happen.
Glorious. That’s entertainment.
Other classic movies
Get Out is reminiscent of other fine movies. I was reminded of Night of the Living Dead (1968).
Notwithstanding the clunky trailer, NOTLD probably takes the trophy for the most disturbing film I ever saw – in part because I saw it at a college film society where I had no idea what to expect. Researching this blog, I was intrigued to see on a wall at minute 33.08 of NOTLD a stag’s head on a wall.
Get Out also has echoes of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).
Both Invasion and Get Out contain a ghastly act of betrayal by a loved one (about 3 minutes from the end of the latter). Invasion originally had a terrific, pessimistic final scene – “They’re here already… you’re next”, to which a more optimistic ending was – erroneously – later tacked on.
The prime example of why down-beat endings are best is the closing scene of my favourite film, The Third Man (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site; scroll down the post to see the scene). That ending was apparently a decision of director Carol Reed, who ditched the happier ending of the original story by Graham Greene. How right Reed was.
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