A strong, confident directorial debut from Jordan Peele, in keeping with the racial focus of his earlier work but framing it in horror rather than comedy.
More interesting for its racial politics than its actual construction as a horror film, “Get Out” works for me more like a socially conscious old “Twilight Zone” episode than a horror film. What’s stayed with me are the questions it raises and the hypocrisies it points out, more than the actual scares it uses to communicate those ideas.
The socially conscious elements feel like a very natural transition for Peele from his comedy series “Key and Peele”, and placing them in a more serious context actually sees them work better than they did in his feature film with Keegan-Michael Key, “Keanu”.
The third act’s descent into more typical horror storytelling is cathartic, certainly, but also disappointing in how it sees the film bend back to more standard conventions over the more subversive storytelling it was engaging in earlier.
The subversive nature of the film was really my favourite thing about it; I loved Peele’s spin on “villainous racists”, eschewing the easy target of very obvious bigotry for a more insidious, ostensibly friendly kind. It felt very sharply-observed, very real, presumably very close to Peele’s heart. The politics of the film didn’t feel pandering in the slightest, they felt daring, especially for the genre. I’m not sure if it was an issue or not that I was so much more interested in what Peele was saying with the film, than the actual film itself.
Ending on a gag as it did, I felt let down that Peele seemed to slide back into comedy at the end instead of maintaining his surprisingly fully-formed sense of horror. It actually feels like that all-too-common issue with skits in “Key and Peele” – start with a great idea, explore it fantastically well, then kind of meander off instead of ending on a strong, definitive note. Still, a weak ending doesn’t cancel out the fantastic exploration that came before, and what came before was a very good film. I give it three and a half cigarettes, and a cup of tea.