Sunday, March 26, 2017

Film Review: GET OUT

The Happy Couple?
If you're a fan of subtle horror films, the kind that start out all sweetness and light until suddenly you're tumbling down the rabbit hole like Alice after eating that crazy cupcake, Get Out is for you. Marketed as a comedy/thriller, it's more disturbing than funny but there are some solid laughs, although most of them are the nervous kind. It's the first directorial effort of black comedian Jordan Peele, and at least at some level deals with the simmering racial tensions so prevalent today. An up-to-the-minute potpourri of several memorable old movies, it's lots of fun for film buffs.

It starts out like Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, the ground-breaking 1967 film about a white girl bringing her black boyfriend home to meet the family. In that film the parents were not happy about the situation, but in Get Out everything is cool, since these parents are highly educated and affluent Obama-loving Democrats who adore all black people. In fact, they like them so much they sort of want to be black themselves. Now toss in some scenes from Rosemary's Baby and The Stepford Wives and you're almost there.

Despite the fact that the whites turn out to be evil and the blacks their unlucky prey, the film could just as easily work with either an all-white or all-black cast. Race seems secondary to what's really going on, which has more in common with Frankenstein and The Invasion of the Body Snatchers than anything else. Now you've got the whole picture.

The soundtrack is absolutely outstanding, adding measurably to the creepiness factor. And the performances are all first-rate, especially those by the male lead (Daniel Kaluuya) and his comic sidekick (Lil Rel Howery). Be prepared to jump out of your seat a few times. But relax: it's scary, but not keep-you-up-all-night gruesome. I hardly ever had to cover my eyes.

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