Jordan Peele (Key & Peele) knocks it out of the park with his feature film directorial debut, Get Out. This socially charged horror film sinks its teeth into racial issues while paying equal attention to scaring its audience. Peele’s script is smart, original, and timely, addressing the current reality of racism in America in a clever manner and skewering horror movie tropes along the way. And the cherry on top: a third act with an incredibly ingenious twist.
The majority of Get Out’s action takes place at the secluded, upper class home belonging to the Armitage family. Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is leery of the road trip to meet his girlfriend Rose’s parents, with his anxiety level raised after Rose (Allison Williams) confirms that A) she’s never had a black boyfriend before, and B) she didn’t tell her family Chris is black. Rose assures her handsome photographer boyfriend her parents are open-minded and accepting, warning him her father will at some point declare he would have voted for President Obama for a third term to prove he’s not racist.
Upon arriving at the Armitage home, Rose’s neurosurgeon dad (Bradley Whitford) does in fact endorse a third term for Obama, just as Rose predicted. He also throws in a mention of Olympian Jesse Owens for good measure. Her psychiatrist mom (Catherine Keener) is just as accepting of Rose’s choice in a boyfriend, and Chris is welcomed into their home with hugs and offers of tours of the gorgeous house and lush backyard. It’s not until Rose’s creepy brother (Caleb Landry Jones) shows up that the cracks in the façade begin to show and Chris begins to realize taking a weekend trek to a predominately white wealthy neighborhood might have been a horrible decision.
Get Out’s star David Kaluuya perfectly captures both Chris’ reluctance in putting himself in what he anticipates (based on his life experiences) will be a difficult, uncomfortable situation and his reaction once he’s proven correct in his assessment of the quickly escalating life or death situation. Kaluuya and his on-screen love interest Allison Williams have solid chemistry, and Williams (best known for HBO’s Girls) blossoms as Rose, a gregarious young woman with a pretty smile that hides a thorny interior.
Lil Rey Howery provides the film with a little comic relief as Rod Williams, a dog-sitting TSA agent who’s Chris’ best friend. Rod repeatedly warns Chris about getting caught in the middle of nowhere and wisely advises him to get out of Dodge while he still can. Rod believes Chris is about to be caught up in a sex slave ring and offers colorful descriptions of what this white family will do to him if he doesn’t run away. Howery nails the part, providing the audience with a few memorable tension-alleviating scenes.
Get Out couldn’t hit theaters at a more appropriate time, opening while white supremacists are in the news daily and racial tension is running high. Peele’s biting dialogue cleverly addresses racism while keeping the audience engaged and ready to scream. Get Out’s scary on multiple levels and hugely entertaining.
MPAA Rating: R for violence, bloody images, and language including sexual references
Running Time: 103 minutes
Release Date: February 24, 2017