Director Jordan Peele (from television’s Key and Peele though this is his first go at directing) has been known throughout his career as a comedian. He has worked on things like MADtv, Children’s Hospital and Bob’s Burgers while earning his reputation. Now he is stepping behind the camera for the first time and out of his comfort zone into the horror genre. He has not only directed the film, but written the script. Putting himself out there!
Photographer Chris (Daniel Kaluuya – Sicario, Kick-Ass 2) has been going out with Rose (Allison Williams – from television’s Girls) for a few months. Taking their relationship up a notch, Rose has invited Chris up to her family house for the weekend to meet her parents, Missy (Catherine Keener – Captain Phillips, The 40-Year Old Virgin) and Dean (Bradley Whitford – from television’s The West Wing). Chris is nervous going into this weekend, not because of the “step” taken rather because he is black and Rose is white. He is expecting some awkwardness whereas she reassures him that her family is not racist.
Once at the lavish family home, strange things begin happening. And Chris seems to be the only one aware of the odd goings on. Rose, Missy, Dean, and Rose’s brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones – X-Men: First Class, No Country for Old Men) act like everything is normal. They all act like Chris is the crazy one.
Chris thinks his behaviour might be because Missy, a therapist, has hypnotized him with the goal of having him quit smoking. Then he begins to put things together when he meets some other African-Americans. The Armitage’s household staff, Walter (Marcus Henderson – Django Unchained, Whiplash) and Georgina (Betty Gabriel – The Purge: Election Year, Experimenter), are odd and so is the one person of colour at the Armitage’s party that weekend, Andrew Logan King (Lakeith Stanfield – from television’s Atlanta). Now every fibre in his body is telling him to get out of there, but that, he finds out the hard way, is easier said than done.
Creepy almost throughout, Get Out was a pleasant surprise in that I am not a fan of Key and Peele, but enjoyed this. Wisely, Peele keeps the gore to a minimum and instead makes you feel uneasy due to the unknown. The story builds slowly before it begins to go at a high pace. This feeling of tension is built despite the fact that you know from the very beginning that something is off.
Another wise step is the avoidance of the typical cliches that usually riddle films of the horror genre. The characters here are not complete idiots that make crazy wrong choices. Even though the story centers around the oft used fish out of water plot device it does not fall into the trap of making all the easy choices. No cheap scares as it goes for it full throttle. Plus in a rather interesting choice, there are no real villains here. No overt monsters.
What did not work as successfully was the humour, which is rather ironic as Jordan Peele is a comedian. Most of the attempts at humour felt rather stilted and out of place. These were the only moments that had me rolling my eyes.
All the stylistic choices (mostly of the right variety) made in regards to the film are not going to be discussed about as much as the race issues and commentary Get Out raises or makes. A reflection on the political climate we live in. Topics like white privilege, the way the rich see the non-rich, exploitation by the ruling class (see white people), and cultural appropriation are tackled. Loads of the dialogue is instilled with innuendo that will have you thinking about it for a long time afterwards.