Watching Get Out, audiences might not be sure whether to laugh hysterically or tremble with fear. That’s the sign of a truly unique moviegoing experience. The plot is completely ludicrous and the filmmakers are fully aware. Yet, the movie takes itself seriously just enough to remain a legitimate horror flick. Much like M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit, Get Out lures you into an uncomfortable state of uncertainty and ultimately delivers a killer punch line. The outcome is a black satire for the ages.
The outcome is a black satire for the ages.
Daniel Kaluuya delivers a strong breakthrough performance as Chris Washington, a young African American. He’s dating Allison Williams’ Rose and the two take a trip to meet her family. The always reliable Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener play Rose’s parent, who seem like charming folks at first. The more time Chris spends with the family, however, the more he starts to realize that something isn’t quite right. All the wealthy people in the neighbor take an odd interest in Chris while all the black residents have seemingly been brainwashed. The fact that Rose’s mom wants to hypnotize Chris only makes matters more suspicious.
The first half of Get Out is a first-rate psychological thriller that keeps us guessing every step of the way. Is Chris just being paranoid or is Rose’s family actually trying to make him their slave? It’s like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner meets The Stepford Wives. Lil Rel Howery is especially funny as Chris’ best friend, who constantly reminds us just how preposterous this whole setup is. Even as the film pokes fun at itself, though, we still get the shivers whenever Whitford and Keener are onscreen. Then when we finally find out what exactly is going on, the film doesn’t disappoint. In the same spirit as Cabin in the Wood, there are so many inspired twists here that it’s actually best to go in without knowing anything.
In the same spirit as Cabin in the Wood, there are so many inspired twists here that it’s actually best to go in without knowing anything.
This marks the directorial debut of Jordan Peele, who usually sticks to straight-up comedy. While Get Out could also be classified as a comedy, it never goes into spoof territory. In that sense, Peele’s film has a fair deal in common with Shaun of the Dead. Both are horror movies that come from passionate people that clearly adore the genre. Thus, they work as a satire and a loving homage. We all knew that Peele could be a comedic genius, but Get Out demonstrates that he also has great range as a clever storyteller and atmospheric director.
Peele even manages to deliver some timely, though-provoking commentary about race relations in 21st century America. It’s hard to sit through the film without thinking about all the recent tragedies that have sparked race riots. Get Out feels like Peele’s way of sticking it to the man in the wake of injustice. Peele delivers some of the best revenge since Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, amounting to numerous applause-worthy moments. Considering that the horror genre hasn’t exactly been kind to black characters, the final destination here couldn’t be more satisfying.