This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative
Get Out is a horror film that you must have heard of at some point or another because of big it was. The film was everywhere and got a pretty good reputation. I ended up seeing Us first and now I can finally compare the two of them. In a lot of ways Us is the more interesting and suspenseful film with all of the alternate universe rumblings and supernatural things going around but this one has stronger fundamentals and the characters at least have some battle tactics.
The film starts with Chris and Rose heading over to meet her family. He’s not thrilled about this but she says it’ll be fine. Unfortunately her family all seem to be a little nutty and Chris feels like the odd man out. He does his best to hang in there but the timing is very unfortunate. See, the family’s having a whole big reunion/birthday party so everyone’s in town and that’ll make it more difficult to leave. The whole setup seems rather odd so should Chris leave or try to stick it out?
You’ll get a Twilight Zone vibe right away here as everyone is just a bit off. You don’t have any way of knowing exactly what is wrong with them until the film goes into its twists but from the start something is off and that alone should be enough to get you intrigued into what’s going on. Now part of the setup here is that Chris is black and heading into an area that’s pretty much all white so he’s worried that everyone’s going to be racist. I think this aspect could have been toned down somewhat but it’s a major part of the film’s setup to the point where it can’t really be overlooked.
That’s part of what gives Chris a red flag about this whole thing. The film also opens with a cop randomly asking for his ID to just to ram that point home. Of course in the process Chris seems to reveal his own racial biases as one of the things that makes him suspicious is that the only other 2 black people around don’t talk or dress in a black way. There’s a bit of an irony throughout the film that the family all have racial assumptions towards him and Chris has them right back towards the white family members. His best friend Rod is usually the mouthpiece for these guesses so even when all of the characters are being polite on the surface they are all thinking their true thoughts when they’re separate.
Don’t want to get caught up in the weeds here for too long but I guess in a way the film’s trying to show a big divide here from both sides as everyone in the film seems to be thinking along those lines. Because it all ends up canceling out like that, that’s why this whole element could have been a more subtle one rather than being a big plot that doesn’t really go very far. Ironically only the big villain at the end seems to not care about all of that…or at least so he claims. I guess it’s hard to say from a very brief scene.
With all of this extra tension in the mix, Chris really never had a chance of getting along with the family. I don’t think he was particularly concerned about that either and just wants to go but unfortunately his phone goes dead early on. Too bad the charger wasn’t in the mix for a while. (Must have been on really low battery to go dead that quickly though) It’s a little convenient but I appreciate the film actually addressing this in a unique way so I’ll give it credit there. In the end Chris is a good character but I do think he gets taken out way too easily.
The scene where he sits down and gets crushed by Missy was a bit hard to buy though. I don’t believe in instant hypnosis like that and particularly not when you’re already prepared for it. We can allow for some supernatural elements here of course since this is a horror title but either way you may roll your eyes for an instant. Everything went down for Chris as soon as he went outside and got intimidated by the gardener, was spotted by the maid, and then ran inside to get beaten up (hypnotically) by Missy. Going outside definitely wasn’t worth it but I’m sure they would have come up with some excuse to get him even if he had stayed in his room.
The real hero here was Rod who really did his best to check up on Chris. He did not let that guy down and pursued every lead he could. Rod had a lot of determination here and really had to do a lot of research in order to find the place. I was glad that he wasn’t just all talk or anything like that and that’s why he was a stand out character for me. He is also quick on the uptake like when he told Chris that maybe there was some mind control going on here.
This was Chris’ worst scene as he immediately discarded the theory as a joke but this was after he had already been mind controlled once. Wait a minute…….why not believe this theory then? I remember that really stood out to me because it was a reasonable idea. Finally there’s Rose of course as the main heroine. Too bad she happened to pick the big family gathering day to bring Chris over but apparently it slipped her mind. She’s definitely a big presence in the film for sure.
Of course there’s not a lot more to say without getting into spoiler territory here. The film definitely goes all out with the twists and those really shake up the whole film. A good twist goes a long way and I thought this one was handled really well. It’s definitely not the twist I originally thought it was so they did good with the setup there and in hindsight this also makes sense and explains a lot of what happened earlier.
So when comparing it to Us how does this stack up? Well, Us has the more interesting storyline here. Parallel worlds and all of that? Easy slam dunk and of course it wins in the soundtrack and visuals department. We also have more fights there which is nice. Where Get Out has the advantage is it’s more of a subtle title with the violence. I thought Us was a bit gratuitous with how the neighbors were murdered. Get Out has its share of action but is considerably less violent because none of that really starts happening until the final 15 minutes. Until then it’s a horror where the threat is implied rather than shown. Us might have more replay value but Get Out makes for the better initial watch. I wouldn’t consider either one to be a particularly impressive horror title. They’re a little above average (Average horror film is closer to a 2) but that’s about it.
The ending of the movie’s definitely solid and a good way to close things out here. Get Out tells a complete story although you could definitely turn this into a whole franchise if you wanted to. After all if the twists are more widespread then we know, it could easily be the perfect setup to an action sequel. You could also do a prequel I suppose but I can’t say that would be super interesting. We already have the general understanding of how this all started after all so you want a new story after that. If they ever tie this in with the Us film then that could be a fun crossover. I feel like it should be possible too.
Overall, Get Out doesn’t really play out like a typical horror film but in the end that’s pretty much what it all boils down to in terms of quality. The character cast isn’t bad as the good guys are pretty decent although the villains are more on the “eh” side. There are some moments where Chris could have handled things better but I wouldn’t say he ever made a choice that was really bad. He was just in a tough situation from the jump. I think a sequel could be interesting but no matter how you slice it, this would probably be more of a thriller than a horror. If you want to check this kind of vibe out I would recommend the classic Twilight Zone episodes. Those really nailed down the creepy atmosphere this film is going for.