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Brief thoughts on Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’

I had a chance to see Jordan Peele’s Get Out last night and I thought it was great. A few (non-spoilery) observations:

  • Do yourself a favor: don’t see the trailer before you see this one. I went in almost completely fresh and I think I enjoyed it much more as a result. Also: since there are a few big surprises in the film, I’m going to be as vague as possible with my thoughts below.
  • Both Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele showed on Key and Peele that they could master virtually any genre stylistically, from hard-core action film to irreverent comedy. It’s one thing to be able to imitate a style for a two-minute sketch — it’s another to be able to sustain a horror film atmosphere for a little over two hours. Peele definitely does that here. As a debut film, Get Out is stylistically solid. Thematically, it’s spectacular.
  • There are so many layers of allegory here that it’s astonishing Peele was able to fit them all in. According to Peele, the target of the film is racism. “We were living in this post-racial lie. So I wanted to call that out,” he said in an interview with CNN. I look forward to discussing this further after the movie is out in theaters.
  • There are several memorable performances here for actors that weren’t really on my radar before: Betty Gabriel and Marcus Henderson both have amazing moments, but LilRel Howery really steals the show.
  • A few people have asked: is the film scary? Are there a lot of jump scares? I’d say there are very few hallmarks of conventional horror films here, like gore, body horror, or jump scares, though they are there in judicious amounts. It’s not a particularly violent film (although I definitely wouldn’t take a child to see this movie, like someone did for our screening last night). Instead, what the film does well is projecting an atmosphere of menace throughout.
  • If you can, see the movie with a lively crowd. This is one of those horror films that benefits from audience participation.

I also shared some thoughts on Periscope about it last night, so do check that out as well.