Oh, you don’t “do scary movies.”
Well, what if they’re slyly funny, engaging and smart like “Get Out?”
Jordan Peele’s directorial debut does a lot of things right, but no scene is more chilling than when his protagonist Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) gets hypnotized by his girlfriend’s mom (Catherine Keener) and drawn into the Sunken Place. It’s like the Upside Down in “Stranger Things” if you replace Demogorgons with deathly solitude. Chris’ “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”-inspired weekend goes from weird to downright horrifying during this scene because he’s starting to figure out who’s actually on the menu.
Keener’s character draws Chris into her trap in the middle of the night when he tries to sneak a cigarette. The two sit down in the living room. She starts asking prying questions while slowly twirling a spoon in a teacup. Her therapy session swirls up more than just secrets. I see it as a scene that talks about racialism in a quieter way than a lot of the movie’s other scenes.
Like Chris’ dark past, discussions about race are something a lot of us would rather just keep to ourselves. Hidden in our own Sunken Place. The scene says, “Don’t bury things just because they’re difficult.” The scene evokes that same helplessness from “Rear Window” when Jimmy Stewart knows something is wrong but can’t do much to act on it himself.
I hear this movie described as “woke.” It’s a fun spin on the term “wake up,” which you’ll hear all throughout Spike Lee’s work. I think “Get Out” is very much a wake up call to backward thinking and proof that there’s still a lot of work to be done to overcome racial divides.
On the surface, “Get Out” is a great time at the movies and a sleeper hit of the year. But underneath, it’s also one of the boldest works of 2017. Great horror makes us think. Unlike “IT,” this movie reminds us that keeping quiet is scarier than anything lurking in the shadows.
I can’t suggest this horror movie enough. Sure, the world is spooky enough outside of its runtime but “Get Out” is too fiery and smart to be ignored.
See it and then see it again. Check out my other picks here.