Get Out is a mature and disturbing horror film with its unpredictable plot and clear but unique commentary on American race relations.
Rose invites her boyfriend Chris to a weekend getaway at her parents’. When Chris meets Dean and Missy, they’re friendly but over polite. He interprets their behaviour simply as a demonstration of tolerance of their daughter’s interracial relationship. However, as the weekend progresses Chris discovers that there are more sinister motives behind the parents’ display.
Chris and his ‘Vulnerability’
The first act quickly establishes the protagonist and his weakness. Chris is a normal man like everyone else with a job and a girlfriend but he lives in a world where, because of his race, he is not considered a person. This is shown in a scene where Rose and Chris call the police, after running over a deer on their way to her parents’ place. When the officer approaches them he asks Chris for his ID, even though he wasn’t driving. With this scene, we know that Chris’ ‘blackness’ is a vulnerability.
The plot then exploits Chris’ weakness, with the threat escalating each time. For example, when he first meets Dean and Missy, they constantly bring up Chris’ race. Dean uses black slang, praises Barack Obama and discusses his interest in other cultures. Knowing Chris’ weakness, you feel anxious and cringe at his exchanges with Rose’s parents because even though he isn’t being discriminated against, you can feel that he’s being socially alienated.
The Element of Surprise
I think one of the most affective elements of horror, similar to comedy, is the element of surprise. Usually the spontaneity and unexpectedness of a scare is more frightening than the contents of the scare itself. Get Out is full of shocking twists and turns that create a disturbing and tense atmosphere. Following his introduction to Rose’s parents, Chris witnesses some unsettling incidents such as the groundskeeper and housekeeper’s oddly ‘white’ behaviour. There’re moments of relief, when we think there’s a character Chris can trust but later we discover they’re no better than Missy and Dean.
Get Out’s tone is very balanced, while the majority of the film can be described as dark and intense, there are comedic moments with Chris’ friend Rod. Even though I never really laughed at any of his lines, I appreciated the film for including some comic relief as most modern horror films tend to be dark and depressing all the way through, which is very boring to watch.
The Social Commentary
The social commentary is of course the most striking and original quality of the film. Unlike Blair Witch and The Bye Bye Man, the horror of Get Out is terrifyingly real. With Missy and Dean’s awkward behaviour, the film argues that racism hasn’t died, its adapted. Today’s racists are not rednecks or neo Nazis. They are normal, everyday liberals who claim to be tolerant of black people but in reality, they just see them as exotic objects.
Overall, I think Get Out is one of the best and most original horror films to come out this decade, with its setup, unpredictable plot and the reality of its horror. I highly recommend it.
I give Get Out an outstanding 9 out of 10.