Screen Entertainment

Get Out: Believe the hype

Get off your chair and into the cinema - Get Out is one of 2017's best films, writes Darren Bevan

White liberal guilt plays a big part in Get Out - a smart, satirical take on social mores from debut director Jordan Peele.

Essentially riffing on the Meet The Parents story and The Stepford Wives, Brit actor Daniel Kaluulya plays Chris, a young African-American, whose girlfriend Rose (Girls star Alison Williams) takes him to the family estate for a weekend.

Already nervous about what may lie ahead, Chris's unease is further heightened when he arrives on the estate and finds an African-American groundskeeper and an African-American housekeeper. Despite his prospective father-in-law's reassurances that he's aware how it looks, but it's not what it seems, it sets the tone for Chris' weekend.

However, things get more mysterious when an annual event on the estate sees out-of-towners arrive....

To say more about the dread-laced atmospherics of Get Out is to rob the film of the freshness that unfolds along with the unease of atmosphere accompanying it.

There's a reason Peele's subversive, sinister, Blumhouse-produced debut has received such acclaim - and it's largely owing to the satirical elements within, as well as the clear commentary on the times we live in and how African-Americans are treated both within society and, perhaps to a lesser extent, within the Hollywood system.

Tapping into American racial unease has uncovered fertile ground for Peele, and gives the film a feeling of something more below the surface.

Cultural appropriation is wrapped up within as well - and much like Scream 2's meta-take on how African-American actors are treated within Hollywood's horror factory, Get Out plays with perceptions with as much ease as it plays with other tropes of the horror and thriller genres.

Unlike most horrors, Get Out manages to spin a web of unease and atmospherics without ever losing sight of what it sets out to do. Along with a modicum of jump scares, as well as some sly humour, the film never threatens to topple the house of cards once the reveal comes in - many horrors tease and tantalise, but when the ultimate reveal comes of either who the killer is or what's afoot, the web collapses into plot holes; Get Out never falls into that trap - even though there are a few narrative conveniences in the final moments.

With an appropriation of Stranger Things into his own twisting, Peele has created a satirically-smart film that feels contemporary and timeless.

Whether that's more a sad indictment and damnation of what the film has to say about the treatment of African-Americans is certainly up for debate.

What's not really up for debate is how inherently smart and devilishly taut Get Out is.

From its whip-smart writing (Bradley Whitford's patriarch more than adds creepiness into the idea that he would have voted for Obama for a third time if he could and adds unease into revealing his feelings that owning African-American house workers "is such a cliche"), to its incredible soundscape, Peele's debut captures and subverts the conventions terrifically as the story plays out.

It's best to know little about this film going on, as the less you know, the more it grabs you in its vice-like grip - and its take on 21st century liberalism may leave you a little rocked and disturbed when the lights ultimately go up. Awkwardness and avant-garde approaches to the genre and the general terror of the story's unspooling make Get Out an at times, queasily paranoid watch.

However, you'd do wisely to believe the hype, as this is one of 2017's best and smartest films - and as such, it's more than worth at least one visit to the cinema - if not more.

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