Get Out (2017), written by Jordan Peele, was voted the best screenplay of the 21st century by WGA members. Let’s analyze the script.
- Draft Read: Undated
- Type: Spec
- Page Count: 98
- Reading Speed: Fast
- Setting(s): City, Rural Estate
- Plot Structure: Linear, Spanning multiple days
- Genre(s): Horror, Psychological Thriller
- Theme(s): Racism, Love, Friendship, Medical experimentation, Mind control
- Protagonist Change: Minimal
Concept. That’s the primary strength of this script. And in reality, a good concept gets a script about 80% of the way there. Why’s it a great concept? Well, first off, it’s scary: What if someone essentially became trapped in their own body while someone else controlled it? Essentially, what if you had no control over your body’s actions?
Second, the themes of racism both subtle and crude are relevant. There’s also many twists and turns, and the script keeps you on your feet. And lastly; the subplots intertwine. For example, toward the end of the story Chris can escape, but is drawn to save Georgina as leaving her to die would bring up the trauma he experienced as a kid when his mother died in similar circumstances.
Chris has no real agency.
Many of the characters felt like caricatures (i.e. archetypes). Jeremy the frat bro, Dean the mad scientist, Missy the therapist that needs her own therapist, etc. They don’t need their own character arcs, but one-dimensional characters generally don’t add anything to a story, and there are many one-dimensional characters here.
It takes a while for anything to get going, which forces odd B events (or red herrings or minor events( that foreshadow the future horrors that await Chris: for example, hitting the deer. Relevant to the story? Not really. Perhaps one could surmise that Chris’ concern reveals character, but again is that necessary? Probably not. We already know he’s a good guy; he cares about his dog, is nice to his girlfriend, friend, etc.
I think the concept is great. The plot is rather straightforward. It’s a horror film, but there are also elements of whodunit and thriller. Why whodunit? Well, we know there are bad guys in the script, but it takes quite some time to figure out who is good, and who is bad: There are many twists and turns.
I’ll leave the deeper character analysis to the numerous articles that dive into it.
Dialogue & Pacing
I felt the dialogue was fine and while tight (there weren’t really any wasted lines), it wasn’t particularly witty or memorable. There were a few corny one-liners, particularly by Rod, Chris’ friend. I didn’t take any specific dialogue notes.
While the first half (or perhaps the first two acts) felt slower, the screenplay really came alive, both in depth and pace, when the story’s crux was revealed to us in Act 3.
The script leans towards a fun script, versus one that is going to draw up deep emotions. Certainly, there are some strong messages and perhaps even stronger critiques of society. But like any horror film, it’s the edge-of-your-seat ohh shit primal fear and rooting for the good guy moments that are strongest here; not other feelings.
Best Part of The Script
- Andre’s outburst (Start on Page 62).
- The climax.