Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)

What's it about? Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a young black man, is a bit worried about meeting the parents of his white girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) because they don't know he's black. But on a weekend trip to the family home, they couldn't be more welcoming, so everything is okay, right? Well, not quite.....


Is it any good? The first hour of Get Out is very smart indeed. It works as an effective chiller, slowly building tension as we share Chris' growing unease that something is not quite right about his situation. In this, Peele is clearly influenced by stuff like Rosemary's Baby and The Shining in fashioning some delightfully awkward interactions as the bemused Chris meets various off-kilter characters. It's intriguing fare, especially as it also succeeds as a sly satire on supposedly liberal, post-racist American society where white people are happy to accept black people, as long as they conform to white societal convention ("I would have voted for Obama a third time if I could", gushes Allison's father). Even Chris bows to this pressure - note how his speech patterns alter depending on whether he speaking to white or black people. Peele shrewdly uses Chris' disquiet to convey to the viewer the ever-present sense of threat and casual racism that exists for black people, even in apparently respectable company, all aided and abetted by an unsettling score. That said, he also knows how to use a little humour to defuse tension, courtesy of supporting character Rod (Lil Rel Howery) whose paranoid warnings generate some big laughs. It's really good stuff, so it's a little disappointing when the third act itself conforms somewhat to horror conventions, as deliberately outlandish revelations pave the way for a blood-soaked climax. It's all confidently done, but I was a bit miffed to discover afterwards that a bleaker ending had been dropped in favour of the one we get here. Personally I think the alternate ending might would have provided a stronger validation of the film's satirical elements, albeit one that would have been less commercially viable. Nonetheless, it's well worth seeing and  I'm not criticising Peele for how he did choose to end it - I'm not racist or anything! I mean, I love black people in films! Driving Miss Daisy is like my favourite film ever!

Anything else I should know? So you'll be wanting to know about that alternate ending maybe. Read about it here, but watch the film first as there be Spoilers there. Elsewhere, Peele reveals his horror influences, including - Aha! - Rosemary's Baby and The Shining (told you!), while articles here and here discuss how Get Out is the latest in a long line of horror films as effective social commentary

What does the Fonz think? Is it cos I is black?

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