Director: Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, Caleb Landry Jones, Marcus Henderson, Betty Gabriel, LilRel Howery.
Written by: Jordan Peele
Running Time: 104 mins
Release date: 17th March 2017
It takes a writer or director of some considerable talent to take an oft-trodden genre and inject a new lease of life into it. That is exactly what Jordan Peele has done. The comedy actor famous for his double act with Keegan-Michael Key has delivered one of the freshest, most exciting horror/thrillers of the year. It’s also a social commentary as well as a biting satire and it had me gripped from start to finish.
Chris has been dating Rose for five months and so it’s time for the boyfriend to meet the parents. Taken for a weekend out to Rose’s hidden away family home, Chris is nervous how the white family will take to their daughter having a black boyfriend. Once there, Chris starts to notice some strange things. The family, overly friendly from the start, have a black maid and groundskeeper that Rose’s father, Dean, seems very apologetic about. Rose’s mother, Missy, is a psychotherapist who wants to cure Chris’s smoking habit. Things start going really awry when at a huge gathering of friends, he meets up with another black man who he is sure he has met before.
Firstly, the best way to really enjoy this film is to go in with very little information at your fingertips. It allows you to follow the same path that Chris is going down. Secondly, and this is the film’s strength, is we are drip-fed information. We are constantly aware that something is not right within the household and yet you cannot put our finger on it as to what. This lacking in information allows Peele to turn the tension screw tighter and tighter.
The best kind of horror/thriller/chiller is those that have characters we can believe in and emote with, situations that make us feel unsettled and a general feeling of dread throughout. That is what we get here. When we have those cliched moments of quiet, quiet, LOUD which are now the main ingredient in modern horrors, they genuinely make us jump. On more than one occasion I found myself gasping for breath after a sudden shock.
Yet this isn’t your regular horror film. This has more to do with a commentary of the times we live in than blood, guts and gore. With the rise of racism within America and throughout the world, it’s a timely reminder that we are all the same. A scene where the police have come to the aid of Chris and Rose in their car and the white police officer asks to see Chris’s ID, even though he was not driving, proves a powerful point of how something as trivial as an ID check can seem blatantly racist.
What also surprises that throughout the shocks, twists and surprises, this is funny too. There are plenty of moments where the laughs range from the obvious to the awkward. These moments never interfere with the pacing or general tone of the piece and can be viewed as light relief in an otherwise tension fuelled experience. It comes at you like a modern day version of The Stepford Wives, only the perfect ladies have been replaced but something far more sinister.
The performances are spot-on too. London-born Daniel Kaluuya is very good as Chris, the young man caught up in this world that he cannot explain. He is a likeable soul who we live the horror through and we feel every inch of fear that he does. Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener are incredibly creepy as the couple who allow Chris into their home, only to make you feel as uneasy as Chris does. LilRel Howery provides the laughs as Chris’s airport security friend.
To some, Get Out may not be a horror in the traditional sense and it is only in the film’s finale that the blood starts to flow. For those looking for the next Sinister might need to look elsewhere. But if you are looking for something more gripping, something with wit and intelligence that will give you nervous, sweaty palms, then this will be right up your alley. As for writer and director Jordan Peele, if this is anything to go on, we are in the presence of a new master of horror.