In Jordan Peele’s bold and inventive directorial debut, photographer Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) is living with his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) in the city when she suggests they visit her sketchy, but seemingly well-meaning, parents at their home in the suburbs. Chris’ fear is that Rose hasn’t told them he’s African-American, and the way that fear manifests in reality makes “Get Out” the most unique horror film to arrive in a long time.
The movie is impossible to really talk about without spoiling one of its many reveals, but its imbedded commentary reaches from the indirect side of racism– which plays out expertly in a party scene where Rose’s relatives tell Chris things such as how much they like Tiger Woods–to the societal exploitation of and disregard for black lives. Finally, here’s a horror film where the protagonist doesn’t make dumb decisions that make you want to tear your hair out. Chris is smart and skeptical from the beginning; when he sees the situation spiraling out of control he flees, or at least, he tries to.
Peele is right to describe his film as a cross between “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and “Rosemary’s Baby,” as “Get Out” takes a classic setup and then uses the horror genre to comment on social issues. Peele also seems to have taken cues from filmmakers like Edgar Wright, who introduce images at the beginning which change meaning by the end.
A tapestry of socially-conscious satire, comedy, and mounting tension, the film offers up several reasons as to why it made over $30 million in its opening weekend and just crossed the $100 million box office threshold, despite being made on a budget of only $5 million. It’s a rare example of a mainstream release that seeks to represent part of the African-American experience with clarity and intention.
The movie is not overwhelmingly scary, but some of its more memorable sequences are sure to burn into your brain for a long time; and the acting, particularly by Daniel Kaluuya, is better than it needs to be. “Get Out” is a carefully constructed film that, given its success, will hopefully let Peele continue to fulfill his filmmaking potential in the future.