While the love of certain horror films is often a no brainier to me there are others that leave me stupefied when embraced by the masses. Jordan Peale’s “ Get Out” falls squarely into the latter for me and although I don’t exactly hate it, it does little to support the genre that has so kindly taken it under its wing.
Let’s start off by stating the obvious; Get Out is very clearly a retread of concepts that were executed far better and had far more novelty than Peale’s “groundbreaking masterpiece”.
- The Stepford Wives – far more relevant than Get Out, TSW plays to a prejudice that transcends race, geography, culture and time. The War of the Sexes rages on and despite what the media would have us believe, represents a challenge to a far greater percentage of the population than the protagonists in Get Out. The iconic Stepford Wives had an insidious air that permeated every frame and unfortunately for fans of that film, Get Out offered very little in the way of surprises. I have seen far more horror films that were able to play upon the tropes of the genre to its benefit and deliver twists that were unpredictable, shocking and and more disturbing than the very paint-by-numbers Get Out.
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers – for those of you that didn’t draw that parallel, “are you fucking kidding me?” Body Snatchers is THE ultimate nightmare in the realm of identity theft. C’mon, Sutherland pointing and that scream?!?!?! Body Snatchers is terrifyingly unnerving and above else, paranoia inducing. The idea of identity is one that hangs by a tenuous thread for many people. Although Get Out had its moments, excuse if I’m not terrified by the idea of my identity swapping ceremony being preceded by weeks of getting bed down by a hot little shot o’ ass whose parents just paid our rent for an Arbor Day gift….ooohhhhh scaaarrryyy.
Cantankerous old white people are hiding behind every corner just waiting to piss in your Cheerios and fuck up your day. Jeeeeeeeeeeezuuuuuuus. Guess what? The world is fuckin racist. Oh yeah. A Lotta white people are racist as hell. So are a lot of black people. Asians? Fuck yeah, they’re racist too. I know a Samoan from middle school that had more “how many Mexicans does it take” jokes in his comedic arsenal than Trump has finger extensions in his overnight bag. Prejudice SUCKS, but it’s EVERYWHERE. It connects with every race, every gender, every culture. Hey, here’s a new concept: EVIL people are waiting around the corner waiting to fuck up your day. So, it’s all white dude with the red Swingline stapler from Office Space’s fault?!?!?! FUCKING YAWN. THAT is your reveal?!?!?! Christ on a crutch…at least take a page from J.K. Rowling and throw a fuckin basilisk in there to keep it interesting. Sigh. That being said, I don’t trust rich old white people as far as I can throw em…especially if they’re Jewish…and don’t get me started on the Irish.
Get Out is quite simply, an EASY OUT. For a well directed, well written film, THAT, in my opinion is its biggest offense. With so many good performances, for Get Out to choose the path, which quite simply is so utterly predictable, negates much of its good qualities.
So, with a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes I can’t be the only one to notice this film’s shortcomings, can I? In fact, I can’t also be the only person to notice not a single positive white character in the entirety of the movie, can I? Hey, I understand. Well I guess I sorta do. Who would I be if I criticized a movie that portrayed such a strong social theme that exemplified the fears of a culture that has been constantly stereotyped throughout the ages? Well, I would be…a…critic. Which is what I am. I am not afraid to say that films like “Get Out” could take the road less travelled and actually weave a narrative with strong black characters that tell a horror story that HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH RACE. I want to see more of THAT. I want to see characters that exist because of their qualities, not their colors.
So sure, we now have a movie that reflects the temperament of a nation at a particular time in history. We have a horror film that was praised by critics for that very fact. We also have a film that stood on the the backs of its predecessors and offered nothing more than a commentary that was so OBVIOUS in its execution that it can be summed up in a Twitter stream or a profile update. THAT’S scary.