Run Rabbit, Run Rabbit, Run Run Run
I’m not often someone who gets overly enthusiastic about trailers. I suppose this has something to do with past disappointment, or fear of being influenced too much before I actually get myself over to the cinema. Much like a nervous first time flasher, I try to restrict most of my exposure to when I comfortably find myself in front of a screen in a big, dark room full of strangers.
That said, when I do find myself watching a new trailer excitedly, you can almost guarantee it’s for something I’m truly looking forward to. This happened for me way back when I saw Trainspotting T2 (2017) earlier in the year when I first saw the trailer for Get Out (2017).
Like something out of Black Mirror, Get Out looked like the sort of modern horror story that I can get behind. Starring Daniel Kaluuya (a firm favourite of mine) and directed by Jordan Peele (who, up to this point, I only recognised as the FBI Agent from the Fargo television series – though I’m told is also a very funny performer in the Key And Peele series) – I was very interested to see how it came out on screen.
That interest never waned between that first trailer to the moment I was in the cinema itself. From the first shot to the last, well, I’m not going to get into spoilers but by the end it’s safe to say I was grinning from ear to ear.
For those who don’t know what I’m blathering on about, Get Out is a comedy-horror-thriller that marks the directorial debut of Jordan Peele. The story follows Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a young black photographer, as he takes a trip out into the country to visit the family of his white girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams, also in her feature film debut).
Incidentally, if this is not the correct way to describe black/white people then you can blame my British upbringing for that one. It makes a huge difference where you’re from – just ask Samuel L. Jackson.
Leaving his pet dog in the relatively safe hands of his friend Rod (LilRel Howery), Chris sets off into the great unknown after expressing some apprehension at how Rose’s parents will react to seeing their daughter in a mixed race relationship. As he expresses throughout the film, white people make him nervous – and with good reason!
As the story progresses, Chris finds that he is all too welcome in Rose’s family home. Her parents (played by Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford) seem almost too eager to express their fondness for him, though tensions begin to arise with the arrive of Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones), Rose’s brother. Not helped by the lingering presence of the house’s ‘helpers’ who would give anybody the creeps.
The tension increases steadily from this point, with Chris’ suspicion and paranoia pushing him to dig deeper into the family, their friends and their history. Again – the spoiler flag is waving in my peripheral vision so I’ll round it off by saying that Chris only ever peers into the can of worms. The chilling truth of what’s happening is only revealed to us when it is directly confronted and explained.
In some ways, this was a little bit of a disappointment. But, to be quite honest, as a fan of Tales From The Crypt, I was more than satisfied with how the story progressed. Like Tales From The Crypt, Get Out has a wonderful concept that was both dark, intriguing and incomprehensibly funny. I’m not normally a fan of comedy characters for the sake of comedy characters, but Howery’s Rod character felt perfectly natural in his role and genuinely had some great scenes as he worked to uncover the truth of Chris’ danger.
This probably works due to director Peele’s background. Even before I looked into his previous work, it was obvious that Peele had some experience in comedy. Forgetting the intentionally funny scenes, if it wasn’t for the chilling soundtrack even some of the horror sequences had a darkly comic quality.
This leads me onto my next point – the soundtrack. The original music in Get Out is incredible at setting a scene – I’m listening to a playlist of it now and even without the visual cues it is a testament to the composer (Tim Williams) that he is able to invoke such dread with only short bursts of score. The string sections, in particular, stood out to me. As did the wonderful main theme – Sikiliza Kwa Wahenga.
There really isn’t enough positive things I can say about Get Out. The performances were absolutely perfect. From the creepy obsession of Rose’s family guests, to the over the top enthusiasm of Rod investigating the goings-on. Unusually for modern cinema, Chris and Rose’s relationship had a surprisingly great chemistry that really helped set up the story in the first act. What’s more, Daniel Kaluuya seems to be made for this kind of performance and absolutely sells Chris’ tension throughout the film.
So, in short, I absolutely loved Get Out. It ticked every box for me, despite the Black Mirror vibe I had from the trailer being replaced by the slightly more campy quality of Tales From The Crypt. The mystery and execution of the story was genuinely excellent, while the shades of social commentary were never overt, instead playing on the audience’s expectations more than once. For a first time director, Jordan Peele has shown himself to be beyond talented – I can’t wait to see his next film.
But first, I might just go and see Get Out a couple more times… It would be a terrible film to waste.
Yours, A P Tyler