By W. Derek Russell
Often in Hollywood, when writers or producers pitch projects to studios, they’ll marry two films to give an idea of what their project will look like.
For instance, the latest resurrection of the giant ape in “Kong: Skull Island” is being called “King Kong” meets “Apocalypse Now.”
But for “Get Out,” the directorial debut of comedian Jordan Peele (best known as one half of the recently ended “Key and Peele” Comedy Central TV series), I can only assume he clearly knew what films he was taking his cues from when crafting the R-rated thriller that’s captivating audiences for the fourth week in a row.
I’m never a huge fan of that style of description, but it’s almost warranted here. Part “The Stepford Wives,” part “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” and a mix of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “Deliverance,” “Get Out” walks the line of satire, surreal and just plain scary.
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams) have been dating four or five months, and as with any developing relationship, the time has come for Chris to meet the parents. He’s hesitant for the journey, but mostly because Rose hasn’t told her parents (Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford) that Chris is black. She assures him there’s nothing to worry about and that it will be a perfectly normal weekend.
It’s anything but.
To tell you where the story goes from there would strip “Get Out” of its charm, and if you aren’t already spoiled on the film after its stellar reviews, 99 percent rating on the website Rotten Tomatoes and the fact it crossed the $100 million mark this weekend, then don’t give in now. It’s a film that deserves to be seen in a theater for its full experience, which I can only imagine will be lost somewhat on a smaller screen.
I haven’t read where Peele came up with the idea for the film, which he also wrote, but I found myself wondering if it wasn’t born in the writer’s room for his “Key and Peele” sketch comedy series as a “what if” scenario. While there are plenty of laughs to be had in “Get Out,” mostly from Chris’ TSA agent buddy Rod, I also found myself laughing at the terrifying moments. Not because they were silly or over the top; I was chuckling to keep myself sane in the face of the psychological terror offered up on a sterling platter.
Even when I thought I had it all figured out, more twists kept me guessing right up until the final moments. Its subversively subtle message can be felt even in the choices in music selected for the film.
I give “Get Out” an A.
The only thing keeping it from the coveted + after that grade is the ending. It wasn’t a bad ending at all – in fact, compared to most films these days, it was completely satisfactory. But I was still left wanting more after the credits ended.
It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus and Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.
Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday on Wizard 106.7 between 4:30 and 5 p.m.