On the heels of our Halloween “Spooktacular” series with special guest Ian Malcolm (@siriandangerous) I have been watching more horror films than usual. In addition to the two we reviewed on our show (Halloween and It Follows) I revisited some favorites like Stir Of Echoes and Sorry, Wrong Number and checked out a couple of new ones based on recommendations from Ian like The Witch, Bone Tomahawk, Halloween II and Halloween III. I also stumbled across a strange and filthy film from Spain that I recommend highly, if you have the opportunity to shower right after. It’s called The Bar and as of this writing it’s up on Netflix. Certainly there has never been such a horror-prolific time in my movie-watching life. (I am reluctant to go down the road of Saw, Hostel, and some of the more disturbing films Ian mentioned in the show…)
In our episodes we talked a bit about what actually makes a horror film and how the genre is so adaptive. I have difficulty embracing the genre because it is so widespread. If A Serbian Film is a horror film then how do you put the original Invasion of The Body Snatchers in the same category? What about The Shining? Tremors? Alien?
Earlier this year the social and mainstream media were abuzz with talk of sketch-comic-suddenly-turned-filmmaker Jordan Peele’s Get Out. As the year winds down the buzz hasn’t waned and the movie maintains a super high rating on RottenTomatoes and is getting Oscar talk. Devotees of the show (LWAFoh-tees as we like to call them) know that I am not usually one to fall in line with the mainstream and thus was probably pegged to hate a film like this. Why, then, did I love it so damn much? Read on, Incredulites…
As I learned in our two-part Spooktacular, horror films have a lot more room for social commentary than most genres do. We didn’t get into the “whys and hows” of it, but it was fairly well understood. Get Out is unapologetic in it’s commentary on race relations in America but make no mistake: this is a top-notch film from concept to execution, through acting and dialogue, art direction, music and cinematography. The only thing I cannot rationalize in my head is how remarkable an achievement this is from a rookie filmmaker. It’s part Stepford Wives, and part The Shining with a healthy start-to-finish dose of sub-surface racial tension thrown in.
Get Out has a pace similar to John Carpenter’s Halloween. Early on there is something strange afoot and the sense of dread keeps growing, but in this film it’s kept at bay by some comic relief and a lot of drama. Also, much like the aforementioned Bone Tomahawk, this isn’t really much of a horror film until the last fifteen minutes. Then all hell breaks loose and the film reaches its conclusion which is as satisfying as scratching a mosquito bite. In Halloween Michael goes on his killing jag toward the end and the film reaches it’s conclusion, though it’s not nearly as satisfying.
Peele tells a story with nuance and is aided by great performances top to bottom. Bradley Witford stands out in his Joe Maddon costume. Catherine Keener chills sufficiently as a teacup-clinking hypnotist and Allison Williams nails her two-faceted girlfriend character Rose. Don’t be a LWAF statistic and join us in several years for an Embarrassed as Fuck segment. See Get Out soon. And see it more than once.