With his background being one-half of one of the most popular comedy duos for a long time, I was a little taken aback by what Jordan Peele chose to bring as his first directed feature in his career: a mind twister called Get Out. For years, he and Keegan-Michael Key brought a fresh and original style of sketch comedy to their adoring fans, creating memorable characters, viral college football interview vignettes and Luther, Barack Obama’s anger translator. Last year, the two made the leap to the big screen with the cat amongst gangsters film Keanu, which with me was a great hit but I had no idea that Peele would be teaming with Blumhouse for a film that is unsettling, awkwardly creepy and painfully relevant in a story that shows his writing versatility.
The film follows Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a black American who is preparing for a weekend away with his white girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), to meet her parents at their estate out in the country. Against the warnings of his best friend and TSA agent Rod, Chris and Rose drive out and are greeted by her father Dean (Bradley Whitford), a neurosurgeon, and her mom Missy (Catherine Keener), a psychotherapist, and the four have a light lunch as the parents figure out their daughter’s new beau. Chris, in the meantime, is a little weirded out by the groundskeeper and housekeeper, both black, which sets off a different kind of alarm, but they are also oddly spaced out and aloof sounding. Things get far more interesting for Chris when the yearly gathering happens on the family’s giant estate.
To describe Get Out is to put the themes of other films like Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, M. Night Shyamalan’s more twisted works and elements of Sam Raimi’s in your face brand of horror and throwing it all in the blender together. It takes this and leads you by the nose through the twists and turns and, really, you have no knowledge of how this will all end until one pivotal moment. Peele adds the element of Keener’s character being an expert in hypnosis techniques and, under the guise of curing Chris’s smoking habit, puts Chris under. This, in turn, makes anything possible for the audience in what is real to the story and what is not. It’s a truly brilliant plot foil.
The comedy of this story is what sets it apart from the aforementioned M. Night Shyamalan, who is a writer that has a problem in fleshing out levity or even emotional beats for that matter. This script, especially when it gets to the party scene with all the old and predominantly white guests are in Chris presence, sheds some comedic light on the systemic racism problem in America. Statements like “Do you golf? I know Tiger.” or “I hear black is in right now.” have a chilling nonchalance to them but in this film play to exactly what is to come in them movie. I feel like this has been churning in Jordan Peele’s head for a while and looks to be the breakout horror hit of 2017. I’m on pins and needles thinking about what he has coming next. 4.5/5