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'Get Out' a fresh take on thriller genre with eerie story

February 28, 2017

“Get Out” is a thriller/mystery film and the directorial debut of long-time “Key and Peele” actor and writer Jordan Peele. The plot centers around Chris, a black photographer, who is dating Rose, a white woman. Rose is bringing Chris to meet her parents for the weekend.

Upon arriving at Rose’s parents' secluded backwoods estate, Chris realizes that something is not right. Aside from the usual racial tension that has become the norm for Chris, other events and encounters transpire that make him realize that he may be in danger.

Peele has great control over this movie’s tone in most areas. Its thriller and, at times, horror elements are played out perfectly. The whole experience feels very confining and uncomfortable with many of the situations Chris has to endure. With the subject of race, the film walks a fine line of thriller and comedy sketch. This is where the film sometimes loses its power, but more on that later. Certain encounters on the surface seem to want to be comical but later on reveal themselves to be terrifying when the context is revealed.

The performances are part of what make the more odd and creepy encounters work so well while also giving some of the surface comedic lines the sinister undercurrent that drives the plot forward. Add the use of a few select extreme close-up shots and the audience is forced to look at the eerie dilemma that Chris faces head-on.

When the film’s tension is dialed up full blast, it is relentless. It has a handful of moments that are so outlandish that it makes you want to laugh a very uncomfortable, quiet chuckle.

The laughs also come from a few scenes that seem more at home in a “Key and Peele” sketch. These scenes, although there are only a few, detract from the film’s built up atmosphere. Most of these scenes revolve around one of Chris’s friends who continually warns him of Rose and her family. Some of the scenes between Chris and his friend are short and offer quality banter between the two friends. However, there is a pretty long scene involving only the friend that really takes away from the tension of Chris’s situation at that point in the story.

The film’s central theme revolves a lot around racial tension in interracial relationships and interactions. At its best, the film presents this in a compelling way that drives the plot forward and really makes you feel for the characters. At its worst, it tends to beat you over the head with it just enough to make you a little tired of it, but it isn’t too much of a problem. If anything, this theme is something that today’s young movie-going audience will understand most.

There are also a few moments in the film that push a little too hard on what seems plausible. They are small moments, and all movies have them, where the viewer has to say, "There’s no way that would work," or, "There’s no way that would happen." These are minor nitpicks but are worth mentioning as most people will notice these scenes, as well.

Other than some of the misplaced comedic scenes, “Get Out” is a very well-done thriller that has a driving story, great performances and a fitting conclusion that lives up to its buildup. It's a welcome surprise to see a fresh take on the genre from someone who is mostly known for comedy.