Ten years after Territories (a real-life horror film that I enjoyed immensely), French-Canadian director Olivier Abbou came back with Get In, a home-invasion horror-thriller available on Netflix since May 1st.
Whilst Territories felt disturbingly realistic but was entirely fictional, Get In is based on a true story, even though it might feel more far-fetched than his previous film at points.
Continue reading and check my final grade below…
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Get In – plot and real story
In the movie, we follow Paul (Adama Niane) and Chloe (Stéphane Caillard) who, after retuning from a two-month vacation, find their house occupied by a couple. Despite numerous attempts, neither lawyers nor police offers seem to be able to help due to absurd legal quibbles. Paul, Chloe and their young son are, therefore, forced to live in a campsite where they meet Mickey (Paul Hamy): he introduces Paul to a group of dysfunctional people, who convince Paul to take his home back with the force… but things don’t go exactly as planned.
The first half of Get In follows the real events really closely, which are based on a news about two retirees from Port Leucate, south of France. Just like the protagonists of the film, Paul and Chloé, the two elderly gentlemen, upon returning from vacation, were expropriated from their home by the “friends” to whom they had sublet the house. From that moment, also as in the film, a slow judicial tussle against the occupants began. The two squatters, in this case, were neighbours who were in financial difficulties, to whom the pensioners had generously offered accommodation during the holidays.
Escalating violence and social tension
Just like Territories, most of the entertainment and the frightening elements in Get In come from the story itself. Although this is a competently made movie, with good performances and decent cinematography, neither the visuals nor the acting elevates it above the par. As a result, Get In insists on socio-political agenda and over-the-top violence to be effective. Even though I personally agree on the message of Get In about racism and social tension, this same message feels very intrusive, on-the-nose and unsubtle, which causes it to come off as annoying rather than impactful.
When it comes to violence in Get In, the question is more complicated. On one hand, the last act of this movie escalates into a bloodbath that’s very satisfying to watch, hardcore and disturbing, which is obviously a good thing when that feels integral to the story. On the other hand, though, as brutal as the movie is, the third act is filled with implausible elements and inconsistencies: characters behave differently than they should (based on how they were set up) or even appear and disappear out of the blue as though they were demonic forces as opposed to just evil human beings.
Great atmosphere and drama… in the wrong genre
Aside from the two big issues I listed above, Get In succeeds at being an intense and nerve-wracking watching experience, especially in the first 30-35 minutes. The hurdles the main characters go through to get their home back – and the subsequent frustration when the law fails them – are quite hard to watch in an enraging way that makes you feel angry and powerless.
However, I kept wondering whether such topic wouldn’t fit better a courtroom drama type of film. The last 30 minutes of Get In are pure nightmare-material, very fitting for a horror movie; however, they conflict with the first hour of the film, which is mostly a hard-hitting drama-thriller. This creates tonal inconsistencies that are, also, enhanced by the music and sound-design: the soundtrack is, at times, very eerie and horror-like, but other times it relies too much on ambience music or even thriller-type rock music.
Despite liking the first half as a hard-hitting drama and the second half as a disturbing and graphic horror flick, as a whole Get In fails as at being consistent and at delivering in many departments.
I don’t consider it a good movie (it’s more of a guilty pleasure for me), and it’s also quite hard to recommend due to its conflicting double-nature. However, if you are really into home-invasion movies and don’t mind some insisted social commentary, you should give it a go at some point.
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