I had a feeling the trailer for Get Out showed too much, which is part of the reason why I put off seeing it in theaters. I was right. Three months wasn’t enough time to entirely forget the trailer, but it helped. I watched the trailer again after finishing the movie and I was shocked by how much it gave away. (This trailer is like the entire movie, minus the unpredictable goodness at the end.)
For those of you who abstain from trailers, I’ll describe the setup without any significant spoilers: Get Out is kind of like Meet the Parents, only it’s actually funny, and instead of Ben Stiller it’s a twenty-something black man named Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya). Instead of a father who automatically distrusts him, it’s a father (Bradley Whitford) who’s so eager to prove he’s not a racist he goes well past the point of self-awareness and wraps right back around to being unintentionally racist.
Then there’s Chris’s girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams), who stands up for Chris when a cop asks to see his ID for no good reason. She would have you believe she gets it, and she honestly thinks she does, but she doesn’t really get it, which becomes apparent when she witnesses how the wealthy white citizens of her hometown fawn creepily over Chris. It’s shocking for her to see how her liberal friends and family treat a black man in person, but Chris repeatedly shrugs it off because he’s used to it. What he can’t shrug off is the increasingly sinister vibes he’s picking up from Rose’s mother (Catherine Keener) and the family’s hired help.
And that’s about all I can tell you without ruining some of the best bits. No, the best bits themselves weren’t spoiled by the trailer, but all the bits surrounding the best ones were.
Director Jordan Peele, who demonstrated his film literacy in various Key & Peele skits and Keanu, understands that indescribable connection between horror and comedy. Shortly after Chris has his first (truly terrifying) horror moment, Peele provides a laugh. It’s such a simple laugh, involving an unexpected text message, but it’s so much more rewarding than the stuff in most full fledged comedies. Peele knows just how to wind us up before springing the trap.
He also knows how to cast a movie. You know who sucks in this movie? No one. When’s the last time you could say that about a cheap little horror movie? (My only complaint is Keener’s character could have used a little more backstory.)
I can’t remember the last time a movie made me this giddy. This is an incredibly unpredictable plot, undermined by its bullshit trailer. (I have a feeling Peele enjoyed a great deal of creative control over the movie itself, but not the marketing.) And when the movie’s over you begin to realize nothing was a throwaway detail—each and every aspect serves a greater purpose. It’s the kind of movie I’ll have a lot more to say about after I see it again, which I imagine will be sooner than later (I’m glad I bought this one instead of renting).
This is what genre fiction does best. This is the kind of shit I live for. This movie’s a downright classic.