Written and directed by MADTv and Key and Peele alumnus Jordan Peele, Get Out has received mass acclaim from both critics and moviegoers – and for good reason. Dubbed a “social thriller,” Get Out blends horror with elements of social commentary and satire into a solid plot full of surprises.
Chris Washington (played by the talented Daniel Kaluuya) goes to visit his white girlfriend’s parents. Before leaving, he asks his girlfriend Rose Armitage (played by Alison Williams), “Do they know I’m black?” to which she admits they don’t, but assures him it won’t be a problem.
From the beginning of the visit, there is discomfort for white liberals trying to demonstrate how not racist they are, with the patriarch claiming he “would vote for Obama for a third time if I could,” as Rose had claimed he would.
Rose’s “douchebag” older brother displays some repressed aggression toward Chris, something that hadn’t happened with her previous boyfriends, apparently. Catherine Keener does a superb, nuanced portrayal of an almost impassable mother, who offers to hypnotize Chris to help him quit smoking.
The black employees of the household, groundsman Walter (Marcus Henderson) and housekeeper Georgina (Betty Gabriel) keep frighteningly tight smiles and unsettling good cheer throughout their first encounters with Chris. The discomfort mounts when a large family party takes place, with the eeriness eventually escalating into sheer terror by the latter portion of the film.
Lil Rel Howery provides welcome comic relief as Chris’s best friend and transport security administration officer Rod. Overall, Peele does an excellent job at balancing humour with terror in the movie.
The score of the film helps carry what could otherwise be perceived as a sometimes uncomfortable tone to an eerie, more threatening tone – there is something sinister underlying the awkwardness throughout the first half of the film, as we find out later.
The aesthetic and use of visual metaphors throughout the film are well-thought-out. Some recurring imagery and foreshadowing – such as the deer that Rose and Chris hit with their car at the beginning of the film – keeps the audience on their toes and enables them to make connections between the visual metaphors and the film’s plot even after the movie has ended.
The strong (if slightly over-the-top) acting of the cast, captivating cinematography, and Peele’s ability to smoothly transition between comedy and horror keep the audience engaged throughout the film.
Get Out is an intelligent, visually striking horror movie, and one that deals with racialized issues from tokenism to cultural appropriation, liberal ignorance, and the flawed idea of a “post-racial” world. Peele wants to make more installments of “social thrillers” – we can hope for more engaging, funny, terrifying films in the future.