This will be a collective review between Edward Hong and Josephine Chang. First, Edward provides a bite sized non-spoiler review for Jordan Peele’s Get Out while Josephine will go in deep to discuss the film in full detail. So for those wary of spoilers, you are safe!
The Non-Spoiler Nutshell Review
- Jordan Peele can do anything, whether it be comedy or horror, and make it a compelling and grounded film filled with excellent performances from every actor and actress.
- This horror film is made for everyone. Basically, if you’re a POC living in America, you will completely relate to the experiences of Chris Washington (played by Daniel Kaluuya), the main lead. And if you’re not a person of color, you will still get something out of this. Get Out has something for everyone, whether they react well to it or not.
- The trailers do not remotely give away what this film is truly about. With that being said, avoid reading ANYTHING about this film (especially what will come below this), which holds true if they start breaking down in detail why Jordan Peele made this.
And there you have it.
Now here comes the massively spoiler heavy section. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
>> WARNING <<
You have entered the negative zone, where spoilers run amuck. You have been warned.
Hi. My name is Josephine Chang and I absolutely hate horror movies. I avoid them whenever I can but for this movie, I could not. Not only because Edward desperately wanted to watch it but because Jordan Peele wrote and directed it. And I can’t not watch a Jordan Peele film. But I did spend a good portion of my time covering my ears and huddling behind my sweater to lessen the scary effects because OH HOW I WAS SCARED AUGH.
If you’ve seen the Get Out trailer, you probably were expecting a horror movie making a commentary on racism, as one would expect from the mind of Jordan Peele. BUT ALAS, how we are proven wrong! Not only is it significantly less horror movie-esque than it is a thriller, but it even veers into the world of science fiction. It may start off as a tale of stereotypical racism a black man would encounter when talking to non-liberal white people but… wait a minute. These white people are liberal and… rather accepting of his relationship with his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage (played by Allison Williams), up to the point of a strange reverence of him being black. This movie seems to be targeting the very liberal, white audience that are flocking to watch it! The people who say they aren’t racist, the ones who love black people (‘Hey two of my close friends are black!’ or ‘Denzel Washington is my favorite actor!’) and the ones who don’t see “color.”
We all know who the blatant racists are, the stereotypical Southern hillbilly kind, but it’s not them that we should be worried about. It’s the ones who claim they aren’t racists but strangely… are way more racist than they think they are. The white liberal elite. The movie is filled with cringe worthy moments when any of the white people talk to Chris about how black he is and how they try to relate to him (‘I would’ve voted for Obama for a third term if I could have’). While we all chuckle at these scenarios, we chuckle with the sad knowledge that this has happened to us.
But at the same time, it forces us to confront the fact that some of us have done what these white liberal elitists are doing with Chris. We’ve all tried to relate to someone and used their skin color as a point of connection. All black people know each other, right? All Asians know kung fu, right? All Muslims are terrorists, right? All Hispanics are illegal immigrants, right? And after watching this movie… never trust a white person for ALL WHITE PEOPLE ARE EVIL, RIGHT? I would say I’m kidding, but am I?
The sad thing is that unless we are that person of color, we will never ever fully comprehend the struggle they go through. Even in our attempts of understanding and seeing the situation they are in, we still will have that bit of racism in us. We are completely blissfully unaware of just how awkward our attempts of not being racist is until we are constantly called out for it. Our seemingly innocent questions in an attempt to understand just show how deeply rooted the racism is. Get Out showcases that in the perfect way and while we may all laugh together while watching it, outside of the movie, we are still doing just that.
It’s not only the white people who are apparently inherently evil and have black fetishes. One lone Japanese man makes an appearance at the party to give his two cents and raises the question, ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING THERE, PERSON OF COLOR?’ As an Asian American audience viewer, it may seem disconcerting at first but it forces us to question whether our East Asian community is immune from accusations of racism and latent racism. It turns racism on its head because it is not targeted only to white people but to those who have considered darker skinned folks to be genetically superior as “beasts.”
Speaking of genetically superior, Chris was able to take out all the crazy white people a lot more easily than one would expect of a photographer from the city. While it just proves that yes, he is harder, better, faster, stronger, you GOTTA ask what kind of work out he does because I know taking pictures all day will not make me such a smooth killer. Sure the Armitages were not trained fighters, but by slaughtering them all, does the film unnecessarily feed the stereotype they wanted to do away in the first place?
My main quibble with the movie resides in the terribly cliche moment where Chris discovers a box of photographs that show his trusty girlfriend dearest with a bunch of black people, two of them being their landscaper, Walter, and the housekeeper, Georgina. Are we to believe that all this time, she leaves defaming evidence lying around in a room her prey sleeps in, in a side cupboard with door problems so that in the off chance they see and open the one box, they will… what? Not put two and two together? And why does Chris still trust her to find the keys? Was he just that ignorant and in love with her to think ‘oh maybe she doesn’t know what the family has been doing with all her black lovers’ but WAIT A MINUTE, TWO OF THEM ‘WORK’ FOR HER FAMILY NOW WHAT. Were we supposed to suspend disbelief to think MAYBE just MAYBE he doesn’t know yet, let’s leave that mystery a little longer while she struggles to find those damn keys. The reveal would have hit harder if they jumped right to the her struggling to find the keys and then… nope. Not giving him the keys because hey bitches, she’s part of the scam.
The movie could have taken a dark and sadly, more realistic turn when the cop car showed up at the end. Everyone in the audience heaved the biggest sigh of relief when Rod (played by Lil Rel Howery) stepped out the car with his sass. I’m so glad Peele went with that route because while it would be a typical horror movie end with all the depressing realism thrown in, sometimes the hero just needs to not die at the end of the day. Especially when it’s a black man who normally would have been the first person killed off.
The acting, script, story, pacing, cinematography, music, and quality are all key components to why this movie works so well. Everything is utilized to its fullest and while it’s not a perfect film, it is a good horror/thriller that Jordan Peele worked his magic on and good for Blumhouse Productions to give this film a chance. I recommend the movie to everyone because it’s definitely worth checking out. While the chances of me ever actually willingly sitting down to watch this movie again are slim because it’s a SCARY MOVIE, the movie is successful because I find myself questioning all the things we think are acceptable and normal.