This is your last chance to not read this before seeing Get Out. Go buy a ticket and see it immediately. There, that’s your recommendation. If you’ve already seen Get Out, then by all means, read on.
You left, right? Bonus chance.
Get Out is an object lesson in why moviegoers ought to avoid trailers. It is also easy to see how the shrewd marketing for this film helped it develop such a massive amount of hype, which the movie arguably fulfills. The preview is intriguingly vague, following roughly the same tonal arc as the film while withholding actual plot details. Instead, we’re given striking images from which one can extrapolate what happens in the movie, if you follow its twisted sense of logic. This is why the trailer for Get Out must be avoided, to say nothing of any other movie preview. If you watch the movie with the trailer in mind, then you can easily predict the direction the story is taking.
Some film-goers don’t mind spoilers, almost treating them like selling points to further motivate them to see a movie. I don’t believe that the actual plot of Get Out is its largest attraction, but rather the tonal manipulation and constantly shifting ground under the main character, punctuated by those indelible images. First-time director Jordan Peele (who also wrote the film) has done precisely what he should do: he made a film that lives and dies on the strength of its visual storytelling, without which the insidiously subtle screenplay might have lost its powerful social commentary. The problem is that, if you already know that those visuals are coming – and can predict when – then the film loses quite a bit of its impact. I’m sad to say that this is what happened to me.
I want to be clear that I am not blaming Peele or any of the other filmmakers for my deflated experience. Responsibility for film trailers is almost always in the hands of a third-party with whom the production company (in this case, Blumhouse) contracts. In many cases, the director has no say in the end result of the trailer house’s work, as they have no control over how their movie is marketed. The goal is to put butts in seats, and the teaser for Get Out certainly did that (its opening-weekend box office was $30.5 million against a $4.5 million budget). The feeling that you have seen everything you need to know in the coming attractions is immaterial to the studios if you ultimately decide to go to the movies that they’re promoting. It’s all about the Benjamins, and your personal experience is more or less irrelevant.
I don’t consider this to be a normal review because I usually summarize the premise of a movie to provide background before I discuss its qualities. I’m not going to do that here, as I’ve made it clear that attending Get Out with no preconceived notions is key to its appeal. I’m also counting on some readers to have ignored the disclaimer at the beginning of this article: you can still be saved. For those of you who have actually seen Get Out, you will likely agree that it is shocking and devilishly smart about its presentation of blackness among whiteness. Far be it for me, a straight-white-cisgender man, to hold court about race in the United States, so I won’t. Get Out succeeds at being a thrilling horror film on its own merits, but it is far better enjoyed as an under-the-radar satire. I’m not going to tell you why, though.
I had a disappointing time at the movies with Get Out, and none of it has anything to do with the movie’s actual quality, which is extremely high. I’m giving the movie a 10 out of 10 because my goal is to convince you to see it, but I can’t say for certain whether I would have given it that score had I left feeling that I had taken in the movie under honest circumstances – my opinion is corrupted. My guess is that Peele wants to startle his audience as much as possible, while including a bit of silly comedic relief to lighten the otherwise grim mood. That all of this was lost on me due to my foreknowledge is tragic: no one is more annoyed about this than I am. The important thing is that people pay for tickets to see this in theaters so that Peele and other talented directors of color are given the opportunity to make movies on a larger scale. Just recently, Moonlight won the Academy Award for Best Picture, a milestone achievement in Oscar history. It’s been out in theaters for months and has made two-thirds of Get Out‘s box office, against a similarly sized budget. Vote with your money and make these movies happen.
Horror | Universal Pictures