I usually am not a fan of horror movies but Get Out is an exception. It is not a gross-out horror movie like Drag Me to Hell or The Exorcist. It is a well-thought-out psychological horror movie that comes from the mind of comedian and actor Jordan Peele of Key and Peele fame.
Peele’s directorial debut perfectly combines suspense, drama, and comedy, which is no small feat. Comedy in the horror genre is notoriously difficult to pull off since it takes a skilled director and cast of performers to make sure that the jokes don’t come off as being forced. The jokes in this movie are natural because of how they complement the movie’s tense tone. Peele also has a smooth directorial style that switches between limited third-person and omniscient third-person perspectives.
Daniel Kaluuya (a London-born actor) is fantastic as Chris Washington. He imbues Chris with a realistic sense of trepidation that elevates the movie’s suspense after he arrives at his girlfriend Rose Armitage’s (Allison Williams) house for the weekend.
Williams’ Rose is a great addition in the film. She plays the innocent, doe-eyed daughter act perfectly until the third half of the movie. Rose is in on her family’s membership in The Order of the Coagula, which is the most chilling aspect of the movie.
The group believes that modern society is currently in a post-racial state and uses this belief to justify having their members’ brains’ transplanted into the bodies of kidnapped young African-Americans. The Armitage family utilizes their different sets of skills to make sure that this process runs smoothly by avoiding paper trails and living in a remote area in the middle of a forest. Rose lures the African-Americans she dates to her family home as The Order’s latest auction items like her family’s groundskeeper Walter (Marcus Henderson) and their housekeeper (Betty Gabriel). Her mother (Catherine Keener) hypnotizes them before her dad (Bradley Whitford) performs brain transplant surgery on them.
Rose’s brother, Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones), forcibly takes his victims by using his jiu-jitsu training to knock them out while donning a mask that resembles the helmets that crusaders wore during battle. He is also the only person that uses a noticeable accent. I think it’s a hybrid of a Boston and southern accent, which didn’t make sense with the rest of the cast’s accents.
Anyway, the ending is satisfying since it recalls details from earlier in the movie and how Chris effectively brings an end to the Armitage’s sick plans. His tendency to scratch the ends of arm chairs enables him to dig the cotton out of the leather chair he’s strapped into and use the cotton to block out the hypnotic sound of a spinning spoon. This is a call back to how he scratched the chair’s arms during the first hypnosis scene and in the flashback where he sat in front of the TV the day his mother died from a hit-and-run accident.
When Jeremy comes in to wheel him into surgery, he unstraps Chris and turns his back to him as he prepares an I.V. drip. Chris takes this opportunity to temporarily knock him out by bashing a ball against his head. I initially thought he was for sure dead when I saw the blood on the ball but (I should have seen this coming) I guess that Jeremy is one of those horror movie characters that are tough to kill.
After a couple of seconds, Mr. Armitage peeks out of the operation room to check on Jeremy. He is about to go see what is holding up Jeremy when Chris uses his prized deer head to impale him and causes the house to begin to burn when he knocks over a candle near an empty operating table. Earlier in the film, Mr. Armitage explained that he hated deers and even congratulated Chris and Rose for hitting one during their drive up to the house. This resulted in the mad surgeon’s fitting ending and acted as another example of how Chris thought on his feet as he escaped the Armitages.
Mrs. Armitage’s death occurs after Chris makes it back upstairs and breaks the teacup that she frequently used to hypnotize him. This levels the playing field until Mrs. Armitage grabs a knife and stabs his hand. The angling of this part of the ending was particularly well-done because the shaky close-ups of them going at it makes you think that the fight will go either way until Chris manages to overpower her and stab her straight into the eye.
As Chris is about to walk out the door, Jeremy pops up behind him and gets him into a lockjaw hold with the intent of breaking his neck. He’s able to stab Jeremy’s leg after struggling to grab the front door knob and promptly kicks his head in. Thankfully, Peele chose to not show this death. The camera pans under Chris so the audience sees him stomp Jeremy’s head last more time, which makes it avoid my number one pet peeve in all movies: excessive gore.
Georgina’s death frees Chris of his guilt surrounding his mother’s death. After accidentally running over Georgina (Betty Gabriel does a fantastic job with this character throughout the movie), Chris puts her in the passenger seat of Jeremy’s car and calls 911 as he begins to drive. Georgina (really Grandma Armitage) tries to strangle Chris as she screams about how he’s ruined her family. This causes Chris to crash the car into a tree and kills Georgina/Grandma Armitage.
Walter’s death is the most heartbreak in the movie. He initially tries to push Chris’ eyes out after he and Rose (wielding a shotgun) catch up to Chris. Chris uses the flash on his camera to bring back Walter since it helps the brain transplant victims regain control of their bodies. Now that he is officially Walter again, he tricks Rose into giving him the shotgun and shoots her before killing himself. It’s one of the most powerful moments in the movie even though it was a quick death but it shows that Chris was able to at least save Walter in the end.
As soon as Chris goes to finish Rose off, a cop car pulls up to the scene. I panicked a little as I assumed that it was the same douche (pardon my swearing) from the beginning of the movie that asked for Chris’ license even though he wasn’t driving Rose’s car when the deer was hit. The car is actually a TSA car that his best friend Rod Williams (Lil Rel Howery) was able to use to rescue Chris. Rod is the main comedic relief in the film and, to be honest, he is my favorite character. He listens to Chris’ concerns each time he calls and finds him even after the police refuse to help. Another great thing about Rod’s character is that he is a good TSA agent. He follows TSA protocol and puts up with impatient customers by reasonably reacting to them. His usefulness at the end made his status as the comedic relief make sense instead of being a throw-away character like most comedic reliefs usually are in films and showed how much effort Peele and his cast went through in making sure each character was three-dimensional.
My overall takeaway from watching Get Out is that it is a movie that transcends the psychological horror/thriller genre and is a must-see for those who want to see a movie that is equal parts intelligent, funny, and scary.