Receiving a coveted 99% ‘freshness’ score on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s safe to say there has been no shortage of hype surrounding the release of Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, Get Out, a comedy horror film exploring the current realities of racism in America. Prior to the screening, there were fears that the film would crumble under the weight of its own expectations: an interesting concept underdeveloped due to inexperience and a low budget. But the 100 minutes that followed blew those fears out of the water.
Peele’s eye for cinematography is as sharp as his characteristically bizarre yet poignant sense of humour. Declining to rely on simple jump scares, Peele tantalises us with smart and investing dialogue before pulling the rug from under our feet with some sudden instances of terror. And it is this incompatible combination that makes Get Out the masterpiece it is. Its entertaining and often jarring blend of terror and comedy simultaneously captures the true horrors of racism as well as its incongruities, its ironies, and its weaknesses. This brutal honesty makes for extremely uncomfortable viewing, but this discomfort is a testament to how accurately Get Out peels back the veil of racism.
Daniel Kaluuya captures the film’s tensions between humour and horror perfectly. His face is a constant sandbox- defensive and hard to read, yet confidently portraying a full spectrum of emotions in response to awkward white attempts to appropriate blackness, but also to the ultimate terror that this oppression brings.
Where Get Out really succeeds however, is long after the credits have rolled. Usually after watching a horror film you struggle to sleep out of fear that some six-legged demon-faced ghoul or an eight-foot demented knife-wielding teletubby is going to jump out of your closet and continue the nightmare. But there are no such fears after Get Out. Instead, you struggle to sleep out of the knowledge that all the racism, violence, and absurdity you have just witnessed is a reality for a huge portion of American society.
Get Out capitalises on a currently turbulent political climate to perfectly balanced effect, asking us to question the ever-present impact of racism on our realities.
Image Courtesy: Blumhouse Productions