It’s getting harder and harder to scare a person these days, that’s why you’ve got to break out one of those rare nuggets called the truth and ramp the hell out of it. Rarely are directorial debut’s so self assured these days, but Jordan Peele has invented and probably perfected the horror-social satire with his debut Get Out that doesn’t so much scare but manages to seep underneath your skin in such an insidious way that you can’t help but feel horrified that from the perspective of a good portion of the population, so much of this plays like a borderline documentary that is so goddamn smart in it’s frightening.
Those milestones of dating are always unavoidable; now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), have reached the ‘meet-the-parents’ stage, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy (Catherine Keener) and Dean (Bradley Whitford). At first glance, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship. However as the weekend progresses, a series of events ranging from awkward to downright disturbing lead him to a conclusion that he couldn’t have even imagined in his worst nightmares.
Ultimately, everything writer/director Jordan Peele plays on in Get Out is funny and frightening because it’s true…but ramped up to 11 all the way.
Peele leans into the dark edges of society that he is playing in so hard and yet with such subtlety that the humor and the social rage manage to find a perfect pas de deux all throughout the narrative and it is shocking how easily he masters the delicate tone of it all. It’s funny, it’s scary, it’s goddamn unsettling all at times when you least expect and does what most films find difficult or cannot do it all as it masters its own unconventional path in it all.
The social commentary is biting and it makes audiences cringe just as much as a grizzly looking corpse or a jump scare could. Rarely do real world anxieties become this entertaining and it’s a credit to Peele as a storyteller because he simply isn’t afraid to go somewhere in the story your more traditional rule book would tell him not to. This film is the sublime collision of art, commerce and commentary all rolled into one. It’s just as important of a film as a variety of more recent, more serious efforts and you’d never know it until you watch the damn thing.
Star Daniel Kaluuya carries the movie with aplomb, taking his character into the dangerous wiles of white suburbia with optimism but still a bit of trepidation which does effectively echo his experience. Thankfully the movie doesn’t waste time and takes him and Alison Williams think into the heart of the story because while their relationship is the crux of the story, it really is secondary once they get to her parents house. Bradley Whitford is inspired as an over the top white Liberal desperately trying to fit in with her black boyfriend and Catherine Keener manages a sinister undercurrent that will keep you on edge as you’ll never look at a cup of tea the same way again. Meanwhile Caleb Landry Jones was a little too over the top, and the great Stephen Root had a great cameo as a blind art dealer that never really paid off like it should have, so it wasn’t all coming up roses but these minor bumps were easy to forgive in a narrative that was so strong that so many of the actors truly understood.
Get Out is really the epitome of brave and bold filmmaking. It doesn’t get everything right but really it’s not supposed to because if it did we would feel disconnected and separate from the characters and the action that happens in the film, when in reality we should be doing anything but. Rarely does a horror-satire qualify as an important film…but Get Out certainly is and then some.
- Release Date: 2/24/2017