If you plan on seeing Get Out, the debut feature by noted comedian and television icon Jordan Peele, it’s probably best to skip reading the rest of this review – and, in fact, any reviews of the film full stop. Seriously. By this stage, the lauded socio-political horror/thriller has been hyped within the very inch of its life, and many of its key plot points have already been thoroughly disseminated online and by critics.
Indeed, if you’ve encountered even a single frothy, overzealous review of the “new classic” then your expectations have already been raised far too high. Though pleasantly comic, and filled with flashes of well-drawn satire (albeit of the on-the-nose, unsubtle variety) Get Out is the textbook definition of an average film, a reasonably-well constructed exercise in cultural tension that eventually descends into cliché.
The plot (which again, the film’s trailer gives away far too much of) sees young African-American photographer Chris (Daniel Kaluuya, doing predictably good work) travel to the ‘burbs to meet the family of his Caucasian girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams). From there, awkward social interactions with white liberals trying too hard to prove their tolerance gradually blends with something much more sinister, and the way Peele disguises horror underneath well-meaning smiles and pleasant niceties, a la the original Stepford Wives or Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, initially works pretty well.
But before long it all begins to fall apart. The film’s third act features an overblown, hard-to-believe plot point that Peele never really works hard enough to earn, and the silliness of the concluding bloodbath undoes a lot of the nuanced work that came before it. Ultimately, Get Out goes from heightened social satire to a Simpsons Halloween episode in a heartbeat – and, even worse, Peele has the audacity to end the 130 minute film on what is essentially a shaggy dog joke, one with a disturbingly slender sense of respect for its audience.
It’s also not scary. Of course, horror films don’t have to terrify – they can unnerve, or sicken, or repulse – but Get Out has not a single shock over the course of its running time; not one shot or scene jolting enough to garner even a whimper from the audience at the screening this critic attended.
That said, it would be wrong to imply that Get Out is necessarily a waste of one’s time, and some of the jokes are pointed enough to elicit some true laughs. It’s just far, far from the masterpiece that its critical notices (99 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes!) and box office takings ($96 million and counting!) would have one believe. Go in expecting a middling straight-to-Netflix special and you’ll have a good time; expect anything more and you’ll be sorely disappointed.