Death of the Critic

Get Out - Review

Written By: CJ Streetman


Jordan Peele’s directorial debut shows incredible promise from someone that we all knew was a tremendous talent.
Get Out is a thrilling and unnerving horror movie where the horror monster is just white people.

Get Out
is the story of Chris going to spend the weekend at the family of his white girlfriend’s house. The weekend turns out to be the weekend of a massively Caucasian get together that the family throws every year.

Here’s where
Get Out truly starts to show the range of its writing. Anyone remotely aware of the actual state of race relations in America right now will feel equal amounts of social anxiety and genuine dread over the course of this movie, as casually racist remarks and real danger make themselves known in equal measure. White people throughout remarking that “fair skin has been the measure of beauty for years, but it seems that black is ‘in’ now,” or looking at Chris’ crotch and asking his girlfriend Rose “Is it really that much better?” really set the audience on edge in a way that is normally reserved for the more tangible threats. Using these two ideas in tandem create tension in a way most movies fail to do.

Herein lies the true success of
Get Out. It constantly moves between a variety of tones without ever feeling tonally inconsistent. There’s genuinely funny humor, adrenalin-pumping action, quietly unnerving conversation, and truly dread-inducing imagery all interwoven with such masterful flow that they build on top of each other without ever distracting from the quiet horror lurking underneath.

None of this would have been possible without performances matching the directing. Daniel Kaluuya performs beautifully as Chris, portraying tired politeness that slowly builds toward a beautifully portrayed breaking point. Without spoiling too much about the rest of the cast, everyone performs their changing roles with aplomb, from the unnerving smile of the gardener to the unknowing and uncaring casual racism of the partygoers, every performance held its own.

The one true failure of the movie is in its sound, primarily the music. While the opening and closing song, a piece from
“Redbone” by Childish Gambino, is excellent, the music throughout is entirely too present for a horror movie like this. In nearly every scene I was explicitly aware of the music begging me desperately to feel in a way that the acting already made me feel. In a suspenseful film, the music should aid in the emotion of the scene, and be practically unnoticed as it assists the tension, and Get Out simply doesn’t do this. Aside from a few moments, Get Out honestly may have been better served by entirely lacking a soundtrack than the one it has. Add on to this that many “jump scares” (read as: moments that were creepy and would have been much more effective in stark, anxiety-provoking silence) were accompanied by ridiculously loud musical stings that just left me sitting there wondering “why?”

This last point is strictly conjecture, but I do firmly believe that there is likely an alternate ending of this movie that might technically be “better” than the one in the theatrical cut. Keeping it vague, the ending feels like it had something much darker and inflammatory planned, but Blumhouse or someone along the way said “that’s actually too much,” as they have clearly done in the past with the likes of
Sinister. It’s not something I can fairly hold against the movie, but the thought is very present.

Get Out is a tremendous film with one or two missteps along the way. It’s scary, funny, and thrilling in all the right ways, and I truly cannot wait to see more direction from Jordan Peele.


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CJ Streetman is the Managing Editor at Byte BSU and a contributing editor for Death of the Critic. Their professional pursuits include counseling, games journalism, and poetry.

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