Jordan Peele’s Get Out launched into cinemas in 2017 and became an instant pop-cultural phenomenon. Grossing over $200 million at the box office, the film became a global obsession, with critics, fans, and op-ed writers all having their says on its social commentary. At the time of its release, countless memes and videos were shared across social media. It was crazy. And who can forget the viral Get Out challenge that was inspired by a scene in the film? With Get Out, Peele peeled back the curtain and delivered a brilliant, satirical horror movie about racism.
Get Out follows Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), who’s preparing to meet his girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) parents for the first time, and he’s a little apprehensive about the whole thing. Chris worries they’ll be uncomfortable around him because he’s black, despite Rose insisting that won’t be the case. In context, the film has a basic set-up – but once Chris settles down in Rose’s family home, he’s plunged into a nightmare, which begins as a constant sense of unease. From the moment Chris meets Rose’s parents, something feels off. Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy (Catherine Kenner) seem like they’re trying too hard to win Chris’s approval, making remarks like “I would have voted for Obama a third time if I could.” Then there are the two household servants who behave strangely. They act more like robots than people. There’s every reason for Chris to feel on edge and Get Out does an excellent job of cranking up the suspense.
What’s brilliant about Get Out is the way it uses racial satire while still remaining a truly effective horror. Peele doesn’t preach to his audience. He carefully lays the groundwork and lets the viewers fill in the blanks about its deeper meaning. Get Out, of course, is superbly written; it’s very funny and entertaining, carefully hinting at the hidden horrors. Combining big ideas with popcorn-ready fun isn’t easy, yet Peele managed to strike the perfect balance. There are so many clues to Get Out’s mystery that are tricky to catch on first viewing, but the fun of Peel’s film is the journey towards the big reveal.
Thanks to Get Out and films like It Follows and Hereditary, the horror genre has undergone a revival of sorts, with mainstream audiences taking more of an interest in what was once a niche, often overlooked genre. For Get Out, Peele took a risk by throwing away old formulas in exchange for a more substantial plot that was fresh and inventive. There’s perhaps still a place for horror movies that feature characters running up the stairs to escape or telling their friends “I’ll be right back”, but they seem like a thing of the past. Now, psychological horror is the type that demands attention – and Get Out set the precedent.
While it might seem too early to call Get Out a modern classic, it is hands down one of the most important films of recent years. Get Out is smart, complex, and everything you could want from a modern horror movie.