To prove this, we break down a few anticipated complaints and show why they’re 100% wrong.
By now, you’ve probably heard that Get Out is a freakin’ flawless movie. Not only has the film managed to maintain a 100% rating on RottenTomatoes through its opening, it has also garnered praise from some of our biggest publications. The Washington Post called the film a “note-perfect tone of both dread and sharp-eyed humor”; meanwhile, The Village Voice referred to it as both a “searing satire” and a “smashing crowd-pleaser of a horror film.” In short, Get Out is one of the rare films to bring everyone on the same page. It’s sleek. It’s scary. And it’s got something to say.
Of course, people being people, there are undoubtedly some movie fans paradoxically being turned off Get Out by the universality of its praise. Every minute of our waking days is filled with demands for our time and money, so more often than not, we find ourselves looking for a reason not to see a movie. Maybe the popularity of Get Out means critics are trying a little too hard. Maybe it’s proof that Get Out is only a half-baked horror film. With that in mind – and because Get Out is a movie that deserves to break $100 million at the box office in its opening weekend – I thought I might take a unique approach in today’s column. Here are four excuses you might offer as to why you aren’t going to see Get Out in theaters and why each reason is mostly full of shit.
It’s Kind of a Weird Cast for a Scary Movie
With all due respect to actors like Williams, Keener, and Whitford – who, I might add, has now starred in two of the best horror films of the century when you throw Cabin in the Woods into the mix— Get Out belongs almost entirely to Daniel Kaluuya. While genre fans might recognize Kaluuya from his appearance on the dystopian anthology series Black Mirror, the actor had spent nearly a decade bouncing around British film and television before landing supporting roles in movies like Kick-Ass and Sicario. If there’s any fairness in Hollywood, Get Out will be the film that catapults Kaluuya into the upper echelons of leading men. Chris Washington is the kind of code-switching exercise we normally reserve for gritty independent dramas and Academy Award-nominated films; some of Get Out’s most unnerving sequences involve little more than Kaluuya shrugging off the casual racism of the larger Armitage clan. Throw in Kaluuya’s incredible work with the more generic elements of the script – seriously, actors have launched entire careers in the horror genre out of less impressive work than this – and you’ve got yourself a performance that will likely rank among 2017’s best when all is said and done.
Mainstream Horror Films Are Typically More Thrillers than ‘Horror’ Films
Despite the universal praise from all kinds of film critics, I’m going to go ahead and hazard a guess that Get Out won’t quite resonate with the horror purists. While most horror fans could care less about meeting an arbitrary quota of violent and sexual content, there are always those who believe that the horror genre should be the exclusive home to gratuitous imagery you won’t find anywhere else. Their loss. Get Out has more than its fair share of blood and violence – including one of the finest instances of Chekov’s Mounted Deer Head in movie history – without ever once feeling like we’re being treated to a horror set piece instead of a complete story. Perhaps owing to the hypnosis subplot, I found myself comparing the film more than once to David Koepp’s Stir of Echoes, a fine horror movie in its own right and one of the best examples of mainstream horror done right. There’s your benchmark, horror fans.
Isn’t Jordan Peele a Comedian? What Does He Know About Scary Movies?
Anyone can make a creepy movie. Think I’m wrong? Here’s a little experiment to prove otherwise. First, open two separate YouTube tabs in your web browser of choice. In the first tab, do a search for the phrase ‘creepy ambient music’ and click on whichever video catches your eye. In the second tab, do a search for the phrase ‘1940s jazz music’ and, again, click on a link of your choosing. You might need to fiddle with the respective volumes a bit to get the full effect, but the point remains. It’s the perfect backdrop for a horror movie; throw in a shot of someone walking slowly down a hallway and, hell, you’ve got yourself a short.
Jump scares and ambiance are the very basics of the horror genre. What separates Peele from his contemporaries – and yes, what makes him a great horror film director – is an understanding of what fears are lurking just beneath the surface of our everyday lives. Horror films work best when they bring out the grotesque in the familiar. John Carpenter’s Halloween brought out the isolation of the American suburbs; Tom Holland’s Child’s Play undermined an entire Hasbro product line; Steven Spielberg’s Jaws made us afraid to go to the beach; and on, and on, and on. Peele can throw out mood and jump scares with the best of them, but it’s the perversion of the modern blended family – and the corruption of the American dream of diversity – that will ensure that Get Out is a hit for years to come.
Do I Really Want to Watch a Horror Movie About Racism?
These past few months have seen a (relative) embarrassment of riches when it comes to movies about the black experience in America. From Moonlight to 13th to I Am Not Your Negro, Hollywood is increasingly realizing that it needs to let black filmmakers tell their own stories in their own words. And while each of those films gives voice to its own anger and sadness over the current state of civil rights in our country, they are also films bound by historical events and the aesthetics of realism to tell their stories. Part of what makes science-fiction and horror films so great is their ability to let their imagine run rampant. Audiences might understand, intellectually, the events that lead someone like James Baldwin to shout at his fellow guests on an episode of the Dick Cavett show, but that divide between white and black guests cannot match the bright colors of a socially aware horror film. Get Out draws a line back through film history, all the way to George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, and uses the trappings of its genre to show how little has changed since then. If you didn’t find the anti-fascist leanings of, say, Captain America: The Winter Soldier to get in the way of a marvelous action movie, then you’re going to find plenty of fun in Get Out.