In cinemas nationwide now.
In some ways the gaga critical consensus around Get Out feels like the very thing Jordan Peele’s debut shocker satirises. However, the inducement of discomfort is surely the aim of every good horror movie; so the nervous laughter of the white ‘liberal elite’ that the film targets is just an extra layer of a beautifully crafted, expertly paced debut.
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is meeting the parents of his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) for the first time. He worries how they will react to their daughter dating a black man. She assures him that her parents won’t mind at all; quite the opposite in fact. They “would have voted for Obama a third time if they could,” she says. Sure enough, her parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) are hospitable to the point of embarrassment, but something feels amiss with the black help employed by Rose’s parents. The smiles seem forced, and something troubling lurks behind their eyes.
Before the horror begins to escalate, Peele’s background in comedy comes to the fore in some tremendous, knuckle-chewing scenes of unconvincing bonhomie and familial awkwardness. The humour provokes such a sense of unease that the story needs only the merest prod to carry that tense momentum through to its final act of cathartic splatter. Obvious touch stones are The Stepford Wives and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, along with Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Get Out sits comfortably with classics such as these; timely in its arrival, precise in its execution, and mindful at all times of its principle aim of being relentlessly entertaining.
Kaluuya (who’s been a pleasure to watch ever since he appeared in Psychoville) is great as the fish out of water juggling his growing concern with his wish not to offend his hosts, and their horde of wealthy suburban friends. Also worth a mention is Caleb Landry Jones, who brings an innate, slithery creepiness to Rose’s brother Jeremy.
For the most part Get Out is a model of restraint. Peele’s handling of the material is masterful for a first-time director. It takes its simmering time, confident that the audience is going along with it, before opening the floodgates. That the reveal is borderline ludicrous is perhaps the only thing to say against it, but the context in which it works is powerful enough to see it through. It may also have the first know instance of ‘Chekhov’s Hunting Trophy‘.
It’s hard to see Get Out being viewed as anything other than an instant classic. It’s a potent satire and an excellent horror film.