In Get Out, Jordan Peele serves up a searing, satirical, horror-thriller about racial anxiety that is as necessary as it is smart.
Racial anxiety can be a deeply scary thing. And that’s exactly what Jordan Peele tackles, no holds barred, with his feature film debut, Get Out.
It starts with the opening scene – a lone black man walking down an unfamiliar suburban street at night is stalked by a masked assailant whose car radio blares an old-time song, “Run Rabbit Run.” The man suspects, as do we, that he’s being racially profiled to a sinister end.
Next we meet Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams) an interracial couple (he’s black, she’s white) who have been dating for several months. When Rose takes him to meet her well-to-do parents for the first time, Chris is a bit nervous because she hasn’t told her parents that he’s black. Rose dismisses his concerns, noting that her dad would have voted for Obama a third time if he could have.
Rose’s family, the Armitages – which consists of neurosurgeon dad (Bradley Whitford), psychologist mom (Catherine Keener), and creepy brother (Caleb Landry Jones) – all seem a little…off. Ok, so the “help,” Georgina (Betty Gabriel) and Walter (Marcus Henderson) happen to be black, but papa Armitage assures Chris that it’s not “like that.” A yearly gathering of wealthy, mostly white friends and associates of the family proves to be an awkward event as Chris endures a stream of casual racism. And that’s when things start to get really scary as Chris discovers a deeply nefarious secret.
Peele has been honing his satirical comedy skills for years, first as a MadTV performer and later with his collaboration with Keegan-Michael Key in the comedy sketch series Key & Peele.
With Get Out, he straddles the line between horror and comedy throughout, creating a movie with an almost candy-coated surface but a bone-chilling heart.
There’s plenty to laugh at, including Chris’ sleuthy TSA-agent friend, Rod (Lil Rey Howery). But there’s plenty to creep under your skin as well.
Peele has called Get Out a “deeply personal movie,” and a “slice of the African-American experience.” By putting the African-American experience regarding race relations in America front and center in a horror film, Peele forces us to look at it, think about it, and be disturbed by it. Like the best satire, Get Out is a movie that ‘goes there’, unapologetically, with results that are equally entertaining and thought-provoking.
The audience at the screening I went to was very much into it – laughing, cheering, clapping, booing and jumping at all the right parts. With a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score so far, and a strong opening night on Thursday, Get Out appears poised for a big opening weekend that is bound to get people talking. And hey, talking to each other is never a bad thing.