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Get Out (Blu-ray Review)

Those familiar with the work of Jordan Peele (of Comedy Central’s Key & Peele) may not be too surprised by the effectiveness of his horror debut Get Out. His television series juggled laughs with socially conscious material and cinematic flair, no different than how effective horror films mask their deeper and relevant social themes with scares and style. Dubbed by Peele as a social thriller, this latest Blumhouse Production mines plenty of familiar ideas and areas for creepiness, uncomfortable scenarios, frights and comedy. As a result, Get Out became a huge hit early this year, with rave reviews and a huge box office total that easily outshines its low budget.

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Film:

From a conceptual level, it is interesting to see how filmmakers work with horror stories such as this. Just recently I had to delve into A Cure for Wellness, a film using a mystery as its backbone, despite leaving the audience waiting for an inevitable reveal. Get Out operates on a similar wavelength, as the opening scene clearly establishes the film as a horror flick, yet we still take our time to become comfortable with the characters and the setup, before any payoff occurs.

Saying “comfortable” is a bit of a misnomer, because the brilliance of Get Out comes from how purposefully uncomfortable we are supposed to be, while in the shoes of Chris (Daniel Kaluuya). He plays a photographer in a relationship with Rose (Allison Williams), who is about to meet the parents Missy and Dean (Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford) for the first time. Early on Chris makes it clear that he has concern for whether or not the parents already know he is black. What seems silly to Rose, becomes a true test for the cautious Chris, who deals with an isolated country estate full of people going out of their way to boast of their tolerance and even envy of him and people like him.

Given how this is a horror film, there must surely be something sinister afoot, but Peele’s script deftly delivers plenty of tension in the film’s staging. A chance encounter with a deer in the road shows the audience that sudden jumps are not off-limits and the presence via phone of Chris’ best friend Rod (Lil Rel Howery) also ensures how laughs will help balance out the jolts. However, Peele relishes the opportunity to make this much more than an awkward meeting between boyfriend and parents. It wants to make a point of digging into everyday transgressions that help build the tension that has already begun to boil.

This is why the film shines as more than just a simple horror flick, despite the easy setup. Before any possibly heinous action takes place, the audience is put in the shoes of a man who deals with everyday racial biases, as well as cheerfully progressive white folks who overcompensate on warmth towards Chris in ways that feel patronizing. Peele took inspiration from films such as The Stepford Wives and Rosemary’s Baby, which shows. You get a constant sense of unease that plays more of a role in the film’s overall design than the actual plot.

Not hurting is the superb casting. Kaluuya works very well as a lead required to smile his way through many situations, while also playing up a growing sense of paranoia. Whitford uses the energy that typifies many of his performances to a degree that fits right into the mood of this film. Keener’s casting is a bit of a knowing choice that becomes clearer once you see this film and look at one of her other signature roles, but she also gets to be a part of the film’s most deceptively sinister sequence. A major shout out must go to Betty Gabriel and Marcus Henderson, who dial up the creepiness to eleven in their roles as two employees of the estate. The same can be said for LaKeith Stanfield, who could almost have his scenes edited into a terrifying short film.

Get Out arrives in such a tight and well-constructed package that it’s almost a shame there isn’t a messier, but even more ambitious film coming out of this. A few ideas could have easily been fleshed out further to show this as an angrier film. Giving away the horror angle so early alleviates some of the mystery from the get-go, even if the truth of the matter is more than a little unpredictably twisted. As a debut film, Get Out shows Peele is plenty familiar with setup, timing and payoff in a way that is every bit as important to a comedian. Because of this efficiency, that may leave this film almost too neat, but it certainly satisfies without cheating the audience.

The bonus, of course, is getting a crowd-pleasing horror film that ties into the current climate (to say nothing about our continual history) from a filmmaker easily familiar with his own screenplay on a personal level. Given the praise for similarly themed documentaries 13th and I Am Not Your Negro, it doesn’t hurt to see a film just as significant, with the potential to reach an even wider audience. Get Out is that film and it is a clever, funny and scary little effort worth checking out.

 

Video:

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: This is a Blumhouse Production, meaning it had a limited budget and only so many locations. That in mind, this Blu-ray presentation does a fine job bringing out the fine details of the manor that serves as the main location. The level of clarity is strong here, as you watch many different, fancy costumes inhabiting a home, yet never appears to blend into the rest of the environment. While the film is a satire, it’s not especially stylish, yet all the deliberate directorial choices stand out appropriately.

Depth: Characters emerge in the varying depths of field effectively enough.

Black Levels: Black levels are quite strong here. You get some good deep and inky moments that play well, given all the indoor and nighttime sequences. The hypnotic state, in particular, looks, great thanks to the strong black levels.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty solid, with an occasional level of pop when the lighting is just right against the costumes specifically. Given how neutral the colors are, there’s not a whole to make a note of, although some very red moments do occur and look great.

Flesh Tones: Facial textures register very well. You get a good amount of detail when looking at the characters up close. The use of close-ups allows for great tension, which is helped by the solid level of clarity for these actors.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing.

 

Audio:

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English DVS Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: This solid lossless audio track does a fine job presenting the film. The use of music (Get Out has a great score by the way) and reliance on dialogue is served well here. Given the atmospheric nature of this film, sound design is key and it’s easy to enjoy the work done to make sure this is an effective audio track.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE Channel gets a few moments to work with towards the end, but the music also helps at times throughout.

Surround Sound Presentation: While the dialogue is the biggest focus and takes up the center and front channels, the various channels get enough to deal with throughout the film. It’s a fine balance.

Dialogue Reproduction: Everyone sounds loud and clear.


Extras:

I wish there was more about the filming and social commentary going on in this film, but there is a solid commentary track and some deleted footage that is enjoyable enough.

Features Include:

  • Alternate Ending (HD, 3:39) – Commentary by Jordan Peele explains exactly why this ending was not used.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 23:02) – Some interesting stuff here and lots of fun alternate takes for a scene at the end of the film. All featuring commentary by Peele.
  • Unveiling the Horror of Get Out (HD, 8:50) – A brief look behind the scenes. Typical EPK stuff.
  • Q&A Discussion with Writer/Director Jordan Peele and the Cast (HD, 5:28) – It’s a shame we don’t see a full-on Q&A session here, instead of just an edited version. But Chance the Rapper hosts.
  • Audio Commentary with writer/director Jordan Peele – This is a solid track that goes into detail about the process, themes, influences and more. It’s not all that funny for those expecting jokes from Peele, but it is informative.
  • Previews (HD)
  • DVD Copy of the Film
  • Digital HD Copy of the Film


Summary:

Get Out is a solid horror film that goes to the next level thanks to its perspective, craft and general wit that make it an engaging and tense watch. Peele has a great future in front of him if he can keep delivering films like this. The Blu-ray is quite strong as well, boasting fine video and audio presentations, in addition to the set of extras that do just enough to provide a level of insight to enjoy. Any horror fan will be plenty satisfied with this release.

 

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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