The best horror films have always come from twisted autuers who can turn the concerns of everyday of life into odd and macabre experiences. Jordan Peele proves to be that type of autuer, and Get Out is definitely a film that ranks with the best horror-comedies out there.
The story centers on Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a successful black photographer who is starting to get serious with his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). When Rose decides it's 'that time' to meet her family, Chris is nervous that she hasn't yet revealed to them that he is black. Rose assures him that her family is welcoming and progressive, and that everything will be fine.
...And everything is fine, at first. Rose's father, Dean (Bradley Whitford) and mother, Missy (Catherine Keener) are indeed warm and welcoming; yet her little brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry) is a bit hostile, and the Armitage's two black servants, Georgina (Betty Gabriel), and Walter (Marcus Henderson), seem unnervingly aloof about encountering another black person. As the visit drags on, Chris begins to notice more and more that things in Rose's wealthy neighborhood are 'off.' As his friend Rod (LilRel Howery) tries to warn him, there are simply too many ominous signs for any sensible brother not to run away. But the white folks have other plans for Chris - who soon learns that there may be even worse things than death for a black man in white America.
Get Out is the directorial debut of Key & Peele star Jordan Peele, who takes his proven comedic sensibilities and film knowledge and applies them to a clearly personal story of race relations, as viewed through the lens of the horror genre. The result is an instant cult-classic film - one that shows impressive cinematic voice and visual technique, bolstered by sharp, insightful, writing that hits notes of drama, comedy, some nice scares, and crazy twists, as well. In short, it's a very strong first film from Peele, and (most importantly) a fun viewing experience for audiences.
Key & Peele's many movie-based sketches demonstrated that Jordan Peele has as keen an awareness of cinema as he does social satire - and his sketch show experience clearly serves him well here, as moment-to-moment, Get Out is expertly composed and paced, rarely (if ever) dragging as it builds to its sick reveals, and develops its primary characters (Chris and Rose). It's wonderfully substantive, subversive, and nuanced (like a good horror film should be), with a very well-rounded and interesting character in Chris, and some wonderfully uncertain characters played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener, whose friendly menace radiates through every scene they're in.
The supporting cast is also populated with some really good character actors, including Atlanta star Lakeith Stanfield, Betty Gabriel, and Marcus Henderson, who all play the stepford-like black people Chris meet. Comedic actor Stephen Root is great as a blind art dealer, Caleb Landry Jones is great at playing a snarling menace - and comedian LilRel Howery is such a big scene-stealer that Peele gives him an entire segment of the story to carry (mostly onscreen alone), as Chris's cell phone wingman, Rod.
What's most surprising is the level of cinematic skill Jordan Peele proves to have. Get Out not only looks like quality horror cinema (with some nice cinematography from Toby Oliver), it also has some surrealist sequences that are visually stunning, and a general use of angled shots that frame the world of white privilege as skewed and ominous from the view of an outsider. It's a level of crafsmanship and vision that's impressive for any director - let alone a director making his debut - and it only proves that there are great things to come from the mind of filmmaker Jordan Peele.
Get Out opens in theaters on February 24th. It is 1 hour 43 minutes long, and is Rated R for violence, bloody images, and language including sexual references.