New horror movie Get Out is probably the most important movie you'll see this year
Watching the trailer for Get Out is a perfect parallel to knowing how it got made.
Things start off innocently enough, with a young couple played by Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams heading off on a weekend away so she can introduce her new boyfriend to her parents. On the drive up, an animal shoots out in front of the car, causing them to break down, and so far this is nothing we haven't seen in a million other horror movies.
Similarly, producer Jason Blum announced a horror movie titled Get Out due for release in early 2017, and nobody really blinked. The guy behind Insidious, Sinister and The Purge was involved in making another horror movie with nobody really famous headlining, and so far this is nothing we haven't seen in a million other horror movies.
Clip via Universal Pictures
And then things start to get interesting. The policeman asks to see the boyfriend's licence, even though he wasn't driving. They get to the parents house, and the maid and groundskeeper are both black, and both are acting... a little off. Okay, you've got our attention now.
Similarly, behind the scenes, things start to get very interesting. Written and directed by Jordan Peele - one half of cult comedy duo Key & Peele - and with Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford in supporting roles, this has a very interesting pedigree involved. Okay, you've got our attention now.
Clip via MovieClips
From there, it's clear what is really going on here: that race is at the heart of the horror here. Although how it all ties in to the oddly perfect suburb which seems to exist solely of rich white people and their silent black staff won't be made clear to us until the end.
Peele stated that his primary influences were Night Of The Living Dead and The Stepford Wives, with the former having an African-American male lead dealing with serious social and racial issues inside the frameworks of a horror movie, and the latter coming to mind during the 2008 Democratic primary when America had to choose between a black man and a white woman.
With the movie being released in the States this weekend (and we'll be getting it soon enough on 17 March), any project dealing with a topic like racism is going to get drawn into a conversation with Trump's America, but instead of alluding to it, Get Out goes all in, using racism full on as the horror that it actually is in America right now, and the critics over there have been going nuts for it:
"Part of what makes Get Out both exciting and genuinely unsettling is how real life keeps asserting itself, scene after scene." - The New York Times
"Peele succeeds where sometimes even more experienced filmmakers fail: He’s made an agile entertainment whose social and cultural observations are woven so tightly into the fabric that you’re laughing even as you’re thinking, and vice-versa." - TIME
"Movies with this serious a message about race are rarely fun to watch, but Peele has a perfect handle on tone, knowing just when to lean toward menacing, eerie or sharply funny and when to tip things in another direction." - The Playlist
"Like all great movies, Get Out faithfully obeys the conventions of its genre — in this case horror films shot through with brutal wit and sharp-eyed allegory — while getting at profound psychic and political realities. The shocks and the laughs are thoroughly entertaining, but it’s the truth of Get Out that’s so real." - Washington Post
There have been a few fantastic horror movies in the last few years, but the problem is that next to nobody went to see any of them - The Babadook ($10m at worldwide box office), It Follows ($14m), Under The Shadow (less than $1m), The Witch ($40m), I Saw The Devil ($12m). Compare those figures to, say, The Conjuring, which scared up $318m at the box office, and you see the divide between a film with full publicity and promotional money behind it, and those that don't.
Thankfully, between Peele's well-known status in the US, Blum being one of the best horror producers in the game right now, and the full might of Universal Pictures behind it, this could actually wind up being not just a great horror movie, but a very important movie in general. That a lot more people will go to see a racially-charged micro-budgeted horror with non-famous actors in the lead role is fantastic, and will hopefully lead to a lot more intelligently designed horror movies in the not-too-distant future.
Expect to hear a lot more about this one closer to it's Ireland & UK release date.