Fighting stereotypes with stereotypes. OR: Horror hype: Once again, it doesn't follow. - A review of Jordan Peele's ''Get Out''
As a horror movie connoisseur, I couldn't get around this movie that has become a surprising box office success, has got positive reviews from critics and fans and has developed a hype that might classify it as future cult movie. Behold! The same was said about It Follows not so long ago, a movie I thought was tedious and overrated. As it turns out, Get Out is another genre movie that doesn't deserve all the praise it gets. Don't get me wrong, it's better than another Paranormal Activity sequel and is overall a slightly above average film but it surely isn't the stunning masterpiece most people make of it.
Just to be clear, this film barely classifies as horror movie. I would call it a psychological thriller with some misplaced supernatural scientific elements. The movie had an overall vaguely mysterious atmosphere but it didn't get scary aside of two minor jump scares involving a deer and a servant.
Let's start with the positives. First of all, the movie has a continuously intriguing mysterious atmosphere. This atmosphere isn't only supported by the gloomy plot but also by calm and precise camera work that offers a more than welcome alternative to cheap shaky camera stylistics in contemporary horror cinema. The movie features a moody soundtrack that blends in without being as eccentric as the Insidious scores.
A movie is carried by its main character and British newcomer Daniel Kaluuya is a gifted actor. The character's emotions are portrayed accurately. You can see how the main character starts as calm, grounded and smart person and becomes nervous, hectic and confused. Daniel Kaluuya is a name you should keep on your mind because we might see more stunning movies with him. I could even see him becoming the next incarnation of James Bond.
Let's talk about the negative parts. First of all, the trailer is basically the entire movie, so don't watch it. I didn't even watch it and it still took me less than five minutes after the main character arrived at the mansion to figure out what was going on and what would happen next. The fact that the movie is so predictable has a negative impact on its otherwise intense atmosphere. The movie fails to offer any surprises to people who are familiar with horror movies.
Despite a short running time, the movie feels stretched. When I'm watching a horror movie, I'm not expecting any action and I'm ready to wait until the movie quickens up the pace but some elements in the film are either irrelevant or repetitive. Instead of showing us one scene where specific characters act weirdly, the makers offer three similar scenes until the most feeble-minded viewer has realized what's wrong with these specific characters. A subtle horror movie should take its audience more seriously and offer less redundant clues.
This leads us to the acting performances. Daniel Kaluuya delivers a stunning performance. Allison Williams offers a solid performance but the two main characters have no chemistry and fail to represent a realistic couple. I could still accept this because that hint might have been intentional. What I can't accept is that every single other actor acts over-the-top, no matter if it suits their roles or not. It starts with the main character's hyperactive friend, goes on with repulsively rude police officers and ends with an entire family and its friends who behave as if they came from a different planet. This acting strategy is repeated to death until the characters have become parodies of specific stereotypes. That doesn't fit to a movie that relies on its gloomy atmosphere and intends to spread a message against stereotypes.
On the other side, the movie takes itself too seriously. The scene involving a car accident and an encounter with a local police officer is obviously included as an element of foreshadowing announcing the main character's struggle with his mother's death and with white people with debatable stereotypes. However, this scene feels so forced and pseudo-intellectual that it takes away from the movie's atmosphere instead of adding to it. A very similar thing happens at the end, when the writers offer awkward science-fiction elements appropriate for old-fashioned Frankenstein movies but not for a film with such a relevant message when police violence against black people has increased in what is supposed to be the flagship of democracy, equality and liberty. It seems that the movie makers couldn't decide whether they wanted to offer an entirely serious psychological thriller with relevant social critiques or a clever parody playing with stereotypes. In the end, they failed at both attempts. The movie feels directionless.
My guess is that it got such praise because it portrays an admittedly sympathetic black man struggling with abusive white people. It's funny how a movie that intends to mock stupid stereotypes is itself based upon stereotypes. Would this very same movie have had the same positive reviews if it had portrayed a white main character being abused by black people? I'm quite confident that wouldn't have been the case because people would have called the makers of this movie racist and the film's message debatable. This proves that the reason why this film receives such approval is because of its message that is at the pulse of time and yet simplifies a very important topic too much. If you take away the movie's intentions, what do we have left? We have an average horror movie.
If you aren't familiar with horror movies and want to get a smooth introduction with a psychological thriller, this film is a good choice. If you are rightfully infuriated by the current rise of stereotypes including racism, you will get some food for thought. If you are looking for a clever or innovating horror movie that justifies its hype, you won't get satisfaction. My final suggestion is to rent this movie instead of spending well-earned money on a cinema ticket.
Final rating: 60%« Acoustic, folk and jazz tones enrich melodic metal - A review of Amorphis' ''An Evening with Friends at Huvila''Get Out (2017) - Fighting stereotypes with stereotypes. OR: Horror hype: Once again, it doesn't follow. - 6/10 (28/03/17) »
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