You can’t help but wonder if this film hadn’t been in the horror genre, if it would have been given as big of a release. First-time director Jordan Peele, famous for being a sketch comic, shows a deft hand and telling stories with incredible subtlety and temperament. If this film hadn’t been a horror flick, with a black protagonist, analysis of race, and a first time director, you wonder if it would have gotten made at all.
Get Out is the story of Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) who is going up to the suburbs one weekend with his girlfriend (Allison Williams) to meet her parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener). The big ‘twist’ in this set up is that Chris is black and his girlfriend is white. The film teases the ‘fish out of water’ premise of a black man in a white town, and it pushes it further into the realm of paranoia, and finally escalating it into a twisting finale.
There are multiple things in this film that give hope for Peele to have a wondrous career behind the camera. One aspect, which I mentioned a bit before, is the simple interaction and development of characters. The root of this achievement is in large part the dialogue, which with Peele’s background in comedy, gives it a witty turn that makes the characters all the more likeable and real. And then the manner in which Peele exposes subtle displays of racism is chilling; it ends up having more of an effect on the audience than many Civil Rights movies do with more blatant showcases.
The other key aspect that made this film such a thrill is the casting. Aside from a few veteran actors, most of the cast is enjoying their first time in the spotlight and they show incredible potential.
And as for the horror aspect of the film, Peele also shows incredible promise with adept foreshadowing and hints that will have sharp-eyed viewers squirming in their seats with anticipation. But, while the final twist is incredibly satisfactory, you do feel like the overall finale does stretch on a bit longer than needed. The film is filled with bloodshed that while satisfying after so much tension built up; you can’t help but think it was a studio request in order to rein in crowds.
Overall though, Get Out is a great horror film that goes above and beyond and tackles issues in racial interactions in a manner as many of the Oscar Best Picture nominees of this year did. Peele’s debut as a director proves to be a fruitful one, and we all look forward to what he does next.