Get Out offers an edge-of-your-seat horror film mixed with racial tension, jump scares and subversive wit. I really didn’t know if it would work, but writer/director Jordan Peele (of Key & Peele fame) has crafted a dubious thriller that roots itself in an uncomfortable reality.
Get Out plays like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner meets The Stepford Wives with an extremely subversive twist. In Get Out, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams), a white woman, brings her black boyfriend Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) home to meet her parents, whose superficially warm welcome masks an unthinkably dark secret.
The trailer had me so intrigued – is this a comedy? Is it a horror movie?
The film takes on race, interracial relationships, and self-congratulatory liberals as a twisted and terrifying satire. The film is often very funny, but it isn’t a comedy. It is a completely original motion picture.
The cast is fantastic. Daniel Kaluuya is terrific in the lead role – surely his breakout role after such amazing work in Sicario and Black Mirror. He is completely convincing as exasperation yields to true fear over the course of the film. Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford eat up every scene as the overtly-polite yet sinister weekend hosts. The white family’s two black servants (an excellent Betty Gabriel and Marcus Henderson) are creepy as hell, cordial in a zombie-like, too-smiley way that suggests menace instead of hospitality. Lil Rel Howrey is absolutely hilarious as Chris’ TSA employed best friend, spouting every bit of horror movie plot twist you could imagine.
Get Out offers insightful racial commentary, which comes as no surprise as a long-time Key & Peele fan. Peele’s skill and confidence in his first feature is impressive – it’s a fearless first film. The film is perfectly calibrated and uncomfortable – the audience was squirming – some of the horror lies in how unsettling conversations about race can be – including faux pas through well-meaning condescension (“My dad’s not racist, I mean, if he could’ve, he would’ve voted for Obama a third time”).
The feeling of unease grows organically. It’s unsettling in the best way. Tension and paranoia mounts until it snaps in jumpy scares, visceral violence and literal paralyzing fear.
Get Out is a sharp and socially aware film. It proves a point about race, powerfully, yet manages to remain an intensely entertaining and thrillingly scary movie.
GET OUT…and see Get Out.