Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, February 27, 2017

You need to Get Out and see this sinister social horror story

This weekend, I saw my first new movie of 2017 in theaters and it was a shockingly good film indeed. Get Out stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chris, a young photographer who is nervous about meeting his girlfriend Rose's(Alison Williams) family at their remote country home.

For one thing, she's white and hasn't told her folks that Chris is black. Despite her reassurances that her parents are pretty liberal, he's still unsure about what kind of reception awaits him.

Once they do arrive, there is the standard "meet the parents" awkwardness, especially from Alison's dad (Bradley Whitford) but so far, it's nothing that either Chris or Rose expected yet it's still early in their visit for trouble to begin:

As time goes on, Chris is sensing an underlying strangeness all around him, from Alison's mother(Catherine Keener) who insists that her hypnotherapy would cure him of his smoking habit to the few other black people that he encounters at the family home over the weekend with their stilted speech and stiff manners.

Things come to a point after an incidence at a garden party, where Chris detects a sure sign that something is really going on and it's not just his imagination. I won't say anymore about the plot because it's better to go into this film without too many spoilers to fully enjoy it for the first time.

Many people have had said that there is a 1970s vibe to this movie and I definitely felt that while watching Get Out. Yes, it is a horror movie but more of a suspenseful build up is created here, with a steady sense of dread mixed with humor that makes the reveal all the more terrifying.

One of the strongest elements of the story is Chris's rising unease about what is happening which he is willing to explain away to Rose when she tries to placate his fears either with jokes or outrage,which undercuts his level of certainty. It's the sort of character arch that you would see in fear films from the late sixties and early seventies such as Rosemary's Baby, where the lead character starts to wonder if their suspicions are as real as they seem to be:

 One film from that time period that even writer-director Jordan Peele has referenced when discussing Get Out is The Stepford Wives and not just for the suburban setting.

Like that earlier film did with addressing the tensions arising from that particular wave of feminism, Get Out explores our still current issues with racism and refuses to simply display obvious examples of bigotry. Rather, it peels back the polite veneer of alleged acceptance and shows the true threat that a false front can hide with it's seemingly innocent questions and cringe worthy comments.

Some of the most Stepford moments come when Chris is trying to interact with the African American staff employed by Rose's family and one guest at the garden party, whose out of sync style of speech and attitudes are made extra chilling by their calmness:

This is Jordan Peele's debut as a director(he previously co-wrote the comedy Keanu) and he handles this film like a seasoned pro.

 As a fan of his former comedy series Key and Peele, I knew he was a fan of horror movies and it certainly shows.There is humor here but only when needed, a solid sign of smart story telling.

One of the best things about Get Out are the subtle nods to other genre films(at one point, I was reminded of Deliverance) that don't distract from the main focus of the plot or make the movie feel unoriginal. On the contrary, the film has a fresh energy to it that I hope other filmmakers embrace and are allowed by Hollywood to expand upon.

 With all of the positive reviews from audiences and critics alike(not to mention a strong set of box office numbers for it's opening weekend), Get Out will surely lead to more opportunities for Jordan Peele to make the films he wants to make.  I know that I'm not alone in wondering what he'll do next and glad to see that in troubling times like these, we are getting the films that all of us need to see:

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