Jordan Peele makes his directorial debut to critical acclaim in Get Out, a horror-thriller film which is something you obviously would not expect from an established comedian. I get why this movie generated so much buzz – a black director reverses the role of the great white saviour. Not that I am an advocate for establishing a pure Aryan race of superior white males and females but watching the movie become self-aware about the black characters fighting for their lives because crazy white people are after them is just a brand new sensation to take in. And you will love it because it is accomplished in such a special way.
A young African-American man named Chris visits his Caucasian girlfriend Rose’s family estate to meet her parents for the first time. At first, he sees the family’s overly accommodating behaviour as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship (Rose’s dad proudly proclaims how he would have voted for Obama if he could have a third term). But as the weekend progresses, Chris starts to learn about a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries which explain the family’s peculiar behaviour towards him.
What makes Get Out so unorthodox is its move away from the conventions of the generic Blumhouse picture model and Peele establishes this by making his entire story be driven by liberal racism. Let’s be honest, that’s something you don’t see every day; a horror movie fuelled by the depths of modern day racism. It is also done in a very satirical manner which hides the true insidious nature of the white family who is responsible for something unimaginably diabolical. Get Out’s story is not simple by any means, so when it is done well by someone who is making his first feature film, it is an extremely commendable feat which first-time filmmakers could only dream of having.
Take apart Get Out frame by frame and it is still retains its core of being a horror. Peele displays a sense of maturity beyond his filmmaking days to understand this and he successfully twists together his brand of comedy and traditional Blumhouse horror to make Get Out stand out in this overly saturated genre known for its cheap scare tactics. At the same time, he also shows discipline in the subtle chauvinistic jokes in the film because making racial background the main point of the story is a complete crime for a movie which is billed to be scary, let alone relying on questions doused in the syrup of big political themes that just won’t fit the style.
Sometimes, Get Out doesn’t feel like a horror or thriller at all. It can almost be seen as an expertly crafted, semi-serious comedic parody from the Key and Peele sketch series. Dig deeper and you will probably be asking yourself whether it could have done better if it focused on just one thing and ran with it. But Get Out achieves a surprisingly great balance in comedy, thrill and horror. The drizzling of the sauces from ethnic stereotypes and race relation goes very well with the frightening main dish of the villainous white people, finally ending off with a cherry-picked Shymalan-esque ending, which will probably make you wonder whether Peele could actually be the man himself disguised; the both of them are coloured after all. Now that would be the biggest twist of all.
Should you spend money on it? Yes
Directed by: Jordan Peele
Written by: Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones
Running time: 104 minutes