Monday, August 17, 2020

REVIEW: Get Out (live action movie)

Get Out is a horror movie. I bought my copy new.

This review includes spoilers.


When Chris's girlfriend, Rose, takes him to meet her family, he figures it's going to be awkward. He's black, Rose and her family are white, and Rose didn't bother to tell them she was dating a black man because she's 100% convinced they aren't racist. And yeah, it's awkward. Both of the family's employees are black, nearly the only black people in the area. Rose's brother is a bit hostile, and everyone else acts weird and/or brings up the first famous black person they can think of as a way to try to connect with Chris and prove they aren't racist. Chris loves Rose and figures he can put up with this, but the longer he's there, the more unsettling things become.

I've wanted to watch both Get Out and Us for a while now. I am, however, a horror wimp, and although the trailer for Us looked amazing, it also looked way more terrifying than I thought I could handle. Get Out seemed more manageable, especially since I thought I could predict the direction it was going to take.

Even thought I already knew it going in, it was clear from the start that the movie was going to deal with racial issues head on. Although Rose demonstrated some awareness of what Chris had to deal with, in the way she dealt with the cop who wanted to see his license after Rose was the one who hit a deer, she was somehow still blindsided by her family's behavior. And, oof, was that behavior cringe-worthy. Constantly asking Chris about his athletic abilities and bringing up famous black people. One woman literally walked up to him and felt his muscles, and I'm honestly surprised no one tried touching his hair. And while Rose stood up to the cop who tried to hassle Chris for no reason, she barely said a word as Chris had to endure one horribly awkward conversation after another.

The few black people at the house tipped the situation from "painfully awkward" right into "something is wrong here." I got a huge Stepford Wives vibe from the whole thing - the way they spoke and always smiled. And although Rose's mom probably had the fewest "awkwardly trying to make nice with the black boyfriend" conversations with Chris, there were moments that made it seem like she might be the scariest member of the family. For the most part, Chris was pretty smart for a horror movie protagonist, but I couldn't believe it when he didn't insist on going home the instant he found out that his conversation with Rose's mother wasn't just a dream but rather something that had actually happened. Even if she'd done him some good, as Rose said, he hadn't agreed to it, and it was creepy and wrong that she'd just decided to do it without asking him if it was okay first.

There are a bunch of things I have to prepare myself for when it comes to horror movies, but some of the big things are animal deaths, child deaths, gore, rape, and jump scares. Get Out had an animal death right at the beginning - the deer Rose accidentally hit, which didn't immediately die but was badly injured. At about that time, I paused the movie and checked "Does the Dog Die?" (a site I highly recommend). At any rate, there weren't any other animal deaths besides that one, no child deaths, and no rape. There were a few jump scares and some bloody violence, but nothing I'd consider gratuitous gore (although there was one stabbing I couldn't bring myself to watch, and the entire head thing grossed me out). The worst of it was in the last 20 minutes.

So for the most part this was the kind of horror that works for me: creepy, with not much in the way of gore or gross stuff. I still suspect Us is scarier. The truth about what was actually going on was just different enough from what I was expecting to be surprising, and overall I enjoyed it, even with the great gobs of white people being awkward and vaguely (or not so vaguely) offensive. I will say this, though: I think Peele's original ending was more powerful than the one he opted to go with. It was bleak, but it fit the overall message better and made more sense - after all, Chris called 911. Still, the ending Peele went with at least allowed Chris to be okay, so there's that.


Alternate ending with commentary (definitely worth watching, although Peele's commentary made me wonder if he has since come to regret changing the ending), deleted scenes with commentary, "Unveiling the Horror of Get Out," Q&A discussion with Peele and the cast, and movie commentary. I watched the alternate ending, with and without commentary, the featurette, and maybe half the deleted scenes. A large number of the deleted scenes were devoted to different versions of Rod's final words in the ending. Although I appreciated that Rod was the movie's comic relief and helped lessen the overall tension a little, I didn't think he was all that funny, so I skipped those scenes after the first couple.

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