Saturday, 26 October 2019

Meet The Parents [Review: Get Out]

Photographer Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is travelling with his girlfriend Rose (Alison Williams) to meet her parents for the first time, and is anxious about how they will react to an interracial relationship. On arrival he is greeted warmly and his fears appear groundless - but the parents have their own eccentricities, and the more he gets to know the Armitage family, the more he becomes convinced that there is something strange and sinister afoot at their household.

Get Out is a well-received horror movie from 2017, directed by Jordan Peele. It has won several awards including the Oscar for best screenplay - and well deserved. This is a clever film. The theme of racial intolerance and stereotyping is explored intelligently to play all sorts of psychological games with the audience, while subtle clues are incepted to pave the way for a horror twist in the final act. The movie opens with a subversion of a stereotype - a black person becoming increasingly nervous as he walks through a white neighbourhood, and proceeds to a fairly brutal kidnapping - this scene signals from the start that this is a horror movie, as otherwise the build-up of tension in the first act is so restrained that you might forget this and think you are watching some other kind of drama. There is a challenge in a film like this - if you make racism the main theme throughout, how do you come up with a horror twist that's even more horrific at the end? I don't want to spoil the movie, so all I can say is that this goal is achieved.

There's little to criticise here. In addition to the script, the performances are excellent and the setting deeply atmospheric. There are one or two tiny plot holes, including an escapology feat that I still haven't figured out, and a completely superfluous and ill-advised use of a candle, but that's about it.

Meeting the parents is a terrifying concept in itself, explored in depth in the films Meet The Parents (2000) and Meet The Fockers (2004). These films are sometimes misclassified as comedies rather than psychological thrillers. They are however enjoyable, unlike the all-time worst meet-the-parents movie, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1968). I have watched this double-Oscar-winning film to spare you the pain of doing so - its' excruciating to watch in the 21st century, even knowing that it was progressive and well-meaning back in the day, and exploration of racial issues is clumsy, a million miles away from Peele's brilliant script.

Get Out succeeds on all levels. A truly horrific three stars out of five.

Score: 3 out of 5 stars

All movies reviewed on the Sci-Fi Gene blog are given a score of 3 out of 5 stars