Jordan Peele has effectively fired off the starting gun of what I think will become an landscape of cinema filled with social commentary about the racial climate, and division among a certain kind of people. As with all horror movements, Peele expertly crafts a movie that reflects the racial relations of modern America, and how there is a thin line between acceptance and cultural appropriation and fanaticism. Peele is a man who has devoted most of his career to brutally sharp and funny comedy, and here he delivers what is a darkly comedic but very scary tale about cults, the racial dynamic and what is arguably the next movement in the racial hysteria in the country. “Get Out” derives a lot of uncomfortable laughter from the audience, but it has a lot to say about the extremes of racism, and the sheer horror of pure ignorance and naivete.
Chris is going to visit his new girlfriend Rose’s parents in their massive house in upstate New York for what promises to be an important weekend affair. As Chris becomes socially comfortable with Rose’s parents Missy and Dean, he realizes that there’s something sinister boiling beneath the surface of their overly accommodating behavior, and continued insistence of being accepting of race. Despite the obvious tension, Chris sticks it out when Rose’s parents host a large gathering of friends, and slowly begins to realize he’s trapped in a nightmare, as he begins investigating his environment right down to Missy and Dean’s meek black servants. Director and Writer Jordan Peele has a knack for the surrealism, deriving a great amount of nightmarish tension at every turn. The moment Chris arrives at Rose’s parents house, there is obviously something amidst, but once he’s forced to integrate in to Rose’s life, it becomes apparent that he’s running out of options to outright turn around and escape potential harm.
Director and writer Peele is skilled at amping up tension within his narrative, as “Get Out” gradually feels more and more like a claustrophobic nightmare. The performances by Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford are absolutely impressive, and they manage to punctuate the film’s theme of being trapped and ensnared in to something so much more devious. Keener is especially good as the snake like Missy who uses her powers of manipulation, and hypnotism to turn every situation in her favor. From the outset, Peele is very motivated in subverting a lot of horror tropes, completely dominating the screen with clichés that are completely turned over on their heads. In the opening we watch a young African American man rush through a seemingly peaceful suburban neighborhood on the brink of a panic attack from fright, only to be attacked and helplessly carried away by a masked assailant.
Meanwhile a lot of what we deem as secure is continuously transformed in to absolute menace right down to protagonist Chris’s best friend over a cell phone as the events unfold. Director and writer Peele even plays with a lot of social idiosyncrasies which helps us unfold the heinous mystery alongside protagonist Chris, including an attempted failed fist bump during a random conversation that unexpectedly sends off more alarms thanks to Peele’s ace editing and brilliant reversal of body language and intent. Horror is a constantly evolving genre that almost always reflects the current climate of unrest or social tension in the world, and Jordan Peele continues that tradition with what is a disturbing, darkly funny, and nightmarish cinematic gem.