Jordan Peele became a breakout star when he and Keegan-Michael Key launched the sketch comedy show Key & Peele. Getting a mainstream start on MadTV, Peele has always had roots in comedy. Now, the talented comedian/writer who helped make 2016’s action comedy Keanu is playing his hand in the horror genre with a film steeped in racial allegory.
Get Out stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chris, a black photographer who after 5 months of dating his white girlfriend (Allison Williams), is nervously traveling to meet her parents (Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener) and her younger brother (Caleb Landry Jones) despite the objections of his best friend (Lil Rel Howery). When the strange activity by the few black members (Marcus Henderson, Betty Gabriel, Lakeith Stanfield) of the predominantly white community start to raise his suspicions, Chris finds himself knee deep in an uber eerie racist conspiracy.
Within minutes of watching the film, the first thing that came to my mind were the works of famed horror director Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock’s films like Psycho, Vertigo, and Birds were creepy simply because of subject matter, subtle allegory, and some brilliant camera work. Get Out checks off all of those boxes with precision.
Every ounce of dialogue, every shot, every scene holds purpose. The subtle discomforting comments made by Chris’ older white counterparts before things really go haywire are a perfect metaphor for the underlying prejudices that many have without even realizing they’re being condescending. And the horrific hypnotism subplot provides a great mirror to the constant state of racial appropriation that too often goes unnoticed in our society. From racial profiling to cultural assimilation, Peele leaves no stone unturned in his presentation.
The film isn’t without its flaws. At times it feels as though its preaching to its own choir. And there are a few plot holes that I can’t get into without giving spoilers. Many of the performances aren’t exactly memorable with the exception of lead actor Daniel Kaluuya who engulfs the audience’s unease with his performance. Lil Rel Howery also deserves credit for adding a well balanced dose of comic relief. But more importantly, Get Out is a film in which its concept and execution help it transcend from being a run of the mill horror film into an intelligent suspense thriller. For that reason alone, Jordan Peele is to be absolutely applauded for his work and his directorial career is off to a fantastic start.
FINAL GRADE: B
MOORE REVIEWS Grading Scale:
A = Must See/Top 10 Nominee
B = Good film. Flawed, but still very entertaining
C = Not Bad, but highly flawed/Probably better off waiting for Redbox
D = Terrible Movie with a few redeeming qualities
F = I wanted to walk out/Don’t waste time or money