Film Long Reads/Series Marie O'Sullivan's Film Reviews Marie vs. Horror

Marie vs. Horror #2: Jordan Peele’s Get Out

Marie vs. Horror

Marie continues her exploration of Horror with Jordan Peele’s Academy Award winner; Get Out.

Get Out – or The Film I Only Watched Because Of The Academy Awards

Get Out Poster 1
Jordan Peele’s Socio-Horror Instant Classic GET OUT

I’m conflicted by awards ceremonies. On the one hand, it makes no sense that a handful of mostly privileged white people who don’t even watch everything nominated before casting their votes get to make decisions about what is a good film. Even as a consensus, the decisions made by this small group can’t possibly reflect the opinions of millions of cinema-goers.

On the other hand, when some award ceremony or other recognizes a film or a performance I loved, then I’m happy and feel vindicated. And then there’s always the dresses.

Most years I try really hard to see all of the films nominated for Best Picture before the Academy Awards ceremony, but I’m usually thwarted because some of them don’t get a UK release until after the Oscars have been presented. In 2018, Get Out was the only one of the nine that I hadn’t seen in advance of the ceremony, and the only reason was because “I Don’t Do Horror”, therefore I had studiously avoided it for almost a whole year.

It was looking increasingly like Get Out was a film I just had to make time for, and so, in full daylight, I sat down to it.

It’s very easy to see why it had such an impact.

Starting out with a gentle, often humorous ‘boy meets girlfriend’s parents’ scenario, the audience gradually comes to realize what is going on, while the main character Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) knows something isn’t right, but can’t work out exactly what. His performance is definitely a strength of the film. Other performances (Catherine Keener, Betty Gabriel and Lakeith Stanfield in particular) really stand out in contributing to the slow reveal in the unexpected normality of the situation.

 

Get Out is a film which doesn’t rely on jump-scares to invoke fear, it’s more a creeping realization of not only what is happening on screen, but also what exactly that says about modern society, that really turns the blood cold. Its critique of racial issues is both topical and historical, which only adds to the growing terror. I was content with the chosen ending, but I wonder if someone more attuned to the horror genre might have preferred something a bit darker as a final conclusion?

Get Out is a social commentary, not a horror film – although the racism which it addresses is something to be horrified by. I felt that this truly deserved the acclaim it had been getting and was a worthy nominee and award winner.

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