Get Out is the perfect recipe for a film that will piss a lot of people off for the completely wrong reason. Forget the fact that writer/director Jordan Peele has successfully made a horror film where a black man walking through an almost exclusively white suburb is as scary as a six-foot tall monster roaming a campground in the dead of night, it’s the fact that race has become a notable focus in a horror film that will see a release in over 2,000 theaters this weekend that bothers people (among other things I simply don’t have the time nor patience to address).
The film revolves around Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose Armitage (Allison Williams), a young couple heading to Rose’s parents’ estate in the secluded wilderness for Chris to finally meet his girlfriend’s family. Chris is African-American, something Rose’s parents aren’t aware of, but once he’s there, any perceived awkward energy turns into just a few selective microaggressions usually on part of Rose’s father Dean (Bradley Whitford). Meanwhile, Rose’s mother Missy (Catherine Keener) is a practicing hypnotist, who encourages Chris to give it a try being he is trying to quit smoking cigarettes. In addition, members of Rose’s extended family are coming over, as well, leaving Chris admittedly a bit nervous about being in the company of mostly white people he doesn’t know.
The only African-Americans Chris sees at Rose’s home are Georgina (Betty Gabriel) and Walter (Marcus Henderson), who serve as maids around the house and manage to give Chris awkward vibes during almost every interaction with him.
Much needed comic relief during this whole vacation comes in the form of Chris’ best friend Rod (Lil Rel Howery), a TSA officer whom Chris frequently calls when things are becoming awkward. Howery offers great comic energy during the right places, not only showing his roly-poly style of humor, but showing that Peele, a famous comedian, knows when to interject comedy to a premise that slowly builds to usher in suspense.
As good as the performers are – particularly Kaluuya, who is so naturally charismatic here, and Whitford, who is so humbly passive-aggressive you almost miss it – the star of the film is Peele, asserting himself as a confident talent on the first mainstream project he’s ever helmed. Rather than going for the safer bet and doing a brazen comedy, in the vein of Keanu, the film in which he acted with his frequent collaborator Keegan Michael-Key, as his first film, Peele would rather go for broke on thematically potent idea that finds ways to be one of the most relevant horror films in years, especially in America.
Much will certainly be made about the film’s premise, the interracial relationship at the center of the film, the incendiary and unfounded accusations of the film’s racism, and, of course, reverse racism, and much more. Those who are brave enough to see Get Out will be treated to a horror film that doesn’t peg them for stupid, passive audience members. Peele seems to have respect for his audience in the way he allows them to think and feel while they’re given a weekend’s worth of jolts, going beyond the jumpscares of film to find out what makes many of us tick, squirm, and jump in real life.
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, Lil Rel Howery, Betty Gabriel, and Marcus Henderson. Directed by: Jordan Peele.
Steve Pulaski has been reviewing movies since 2009 for a barrage of different outlets. He graduated North Central College in 2018 and currently works as an on-air radio personality. He also hosts a weekly movie podcast called "Sleepless with Steve," dedicated to film and the film industry, on his YouTube channel. In addition to writing, he's a die-hard Chicago Bears fan and has two cats, appropriately named Siskel and Ebert!