Jordan Peele’s Get Out is certainly something you don’t see everyday – a mashup of social commentary on race, horror, and comedy. That technically may be an uncomfortable mix of genres, but the writer/director mostly pulls it off in an effort that often feels quite fresh and is sometimes downright invigorating.
The pic begins with a prologue of an African American male wondering the streets of an affluent neighborhood looking for the right address. A car starts to follow him. It doesn’t seem like anything new to him, but it ends in a decidedly frightening result.
Cut to the present as Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is preparing to leave the city for a weekend at his girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) parents place. Rose doesn’t feel it’s important to inform them that he’s black, even though he warns her it might’ve been worth mentioning. He’s right. The suburban area where her parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) dwell is lily white. Her dad believes bonding with Chris involves calling him “my man” and insisting he’d vote for Obama had he been eligible for another term.
There are exceptions to the prominently Caucasian community. The family has a groundskeeper and maid who are black. Chris feels something is off with them. He’s right. He also is creeped out when Mom tries out her hypnosis skills on him. She presents it as a way to stop his smoking (like Greg Focker meeting the parents, he has the same habit). Chris suspects there’s something more sinister at play. Once again, his antenna is pointing in the right direction.
One of the more clever aspects in the writing of Get Out is showing how Chris’s radar is always switched on around people of the opposite race. The reactions to him in this foreign world to him are strange, but not enough to have him running. At least for a while.
As the story unfolds, awkward interactions with the family and others turns to horror. In the third act, that genre takes over and provides the kind of scares and laughs that we cherish in it. Get Out works in other ways. All performances are solid starting with leads Kaluuya and Williams. Special shout outs go to Betty Gabriel as that off kilter maid and Lil Rel Howery as Chris’s buddy who provides major comic relief.
Once the plot is completely revealed, it leaves a lot of unanswered questions that a prequel could surely have a ball with. The writer and director doesn’t totally stick the landing in my view. Saying more would go into spoiler territory. That said, Get Out is sharp and potent. Peele became known from Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele” for laugh out loud moments filled with timely satire. They’re here coupled with more blood. Kudos to him for believing this curious melding could work. He’s right.
***1/2 (out of four)