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Get Out

Horror and satire movies set in suburbia are nothing new. ‘The Stepford Wives’ and ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’, have used enclosed locales to effective use. The setting is ripe for both genres as occasionally being in such a community can be a horror unto itself. Add a dash of social commentary on racism and you have ‘Get Out’. An intriguing blend of laughs and scares, it pushes the right buttons in crafting a refreshing take on suburban hell.

A young black man, Chris (Daniel Kalyuuya), goes to meet the parents of his white girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams). Initially enjoying the meeting and surrounds of the estate in which they live, Chris slowly feels something is amiss. Learning that several black residents have gone missing, Chris’s sense of foreboding increases. It reaches fever pitch when a black man from the estate tells him to get out. Leaving quickly becomes a hassle with his departure halted by increasingly sinister events.

Written and directed by Jordan Peele, ‘Get Out’ works on many levels. Those wanting some thrills will receive them. Others wanting some weight behind them will get those as well. Peele’s creativity in mixing these elements is evident as he crafts something fresh out of standard horror architypes. The twists keep coming until the end with Chris navigating his way through a cavalcade of terror. Kalyuuya gives a solid performance full of presence and growing bemusement at what he encounters. His co-stars perfectly pitch their roles to match the film’s tone.

Although the scares are effectively handled, working better is the general social observations. You feel a genuine sense of Chris’ daily life from the assumptions residents make of him based on skin colour to their non-verbal actions. Making ‘Get Out’ very relatable and authentic is seeing how he deals with the casual racism he encounters - something seen in everyday life. The music and cinematography perfectly create a foreboding atmosphere with the script’s light touch ensuring the messages aren’t lost amongst creepy happenings.

‘Get Out’ is an imaginative humorous thriller with a strong central motif. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing a new talent such as Jordan Peele enter the scene. One hopes his next movie is just as intriguing and captivating as this nifty outing.

Rating out of 10: 8

Rings

One of the rules of horror films are that characters should never do what they’re told. It can be assured that if someone is warned not to do something, they’ll do it. The temptation to slightly mis-behave is something we all carry over from childhood. The consequences for doing the wrong thing were less harsh than what occurs in scary movies. ‘Rings’ shows just how bad ignoring warnings can be. The third in the American remakes of the original Japanese series, it almost conjures scares for those always caught being bad.

Julia (Matilda Lutz) is worried when her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) becomes enraptured by a horrific urban legend. Delving into the myth of a sinister video where the watcher dies 7 days after viewing it, Holt’s actions have dire repercussions. Not heeding the warnings given about the video, Julia aims to save her boyfriend from a dark fate. Making a shocking discovery of another movie within the video, Julia’s life is increasingly perilous as death becomes her constant companion.

‘Rings’ relies heavily on the horror movie phenomenon known as ‘jump scares’. When something is about to happen or a shocking incident is occurring, a very loud noise usually joins it. This is lazy film-making, adhering to the genre clichés without taking time to generate genuine scares. ‘Rings’ is typical of recent horror films in having little flair or imagination. It isn’t completely terrible, as the new additions to the Rings mythology are intriguing. The way they’re done is disappointing as with so much money available, such a bland product is created.

Any horror film thrives or dies by its scares. ‘Rings’ has a modicum of cheap thrills to accompany its very bombastic soundtrack. But once these shocks are over, another one arrives to quickly negate any impact. ‘Rings’ won’t be a worthy addition in the annuls of horror like ‘The Exorcist’ or ‘Halloween’ as it refuses to do anything original by living off the infamy of its predecessors. The actors do little but react to the pyrotechnics with some woeful performances reflecting the low-grade talent involved.

There have been worse horror movies than ‘Rings’, although this is as bland as many others. The spectre of another sequel is the only truly horrific moment which would scare the shackles of Death as it crawls through eternities’ door.

Rating out of 10: 4