Updated: Feb 4
An impressive, intense, funny, thought-provoking horror thriller from comedian turned writer/director Jordan Peele (of Key and Peele fame), Get Out is the story of Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a black man who travels with his white girlfriend (Girls’ Allison Williams) to meet her wealthy parents (the always enjoyable Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford) at their large, isolated estate. Not much time passes before he begins to suspect that something is off in their community, especially in regards to the few black people he encounters there.
The performances are solid (the film has been well cast, especially the very effective Kaluuya), but the film is mainly a triumph of writing. This is Peele’s second screenplay credit (he co-wrote 2016’s kidnapped cat action/comedy Keanu) and directorial debut. He chose a very ambitious and risky project to start with and proves himself up to the task. Peele does an outstanding job of balancing the horror and comedy while keeping the social commentary constantly present without being overbearing.
Without giving away too much, the film is a contemporary twist on The Stepford Wives with blackness being the target instead of feminism. Specifically, the film satirizes the white appropriation of black culture alongside the fetishizing of certain black stereotypes by white America. The way the older white people act around Chris is both funny (in the way it mocks their stereotyping) and terrifying because of how dehumanizing it is.
Get Out (a sleek 100 minutes minus end credits) has been released in a volatile racial climate and Peele is not shy about broaching touchy subject matter. However, this is not a “message picture.” It is a skillful thriller that also has a message, not a “message movie” that also tries to be a thriller. The fact that it is able to work on several different levels is probably why the film has been so popular with audiences.
It is always exciting to see a new voice make their presence known on the film scene and Jordan Peele has certainly opened some eyes with his first directorial effort. Additionally, Get Out’s success (both critically and commercially (it has made nearly $175 million at the domestic box-office)) could convince studios to take some chances with their genre films. This film proves that audiences are interested in seeing a horror movie that has a lot more on its mind than how to kill a bunch of teenagers in the goriest way possible.
Get Out is an exciting, interesting, entertaining film. It is funny, thrilling and thought-provoking. This is one of the best movies I have seen so far this year. I highly recommended it.
4½ out of 5
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington Allison Williams as Rose Armitage Catherine Keener as Missy Armitage Bradley Whitford as Dean Armitage Caleb Landry Jones as Jeremy Armitage Stephen Root as Jim Hudson Lil Rel Howery as Rod Williams
Written and Directed by Jordan Peele