Once we found out that Jordan Peele of Key & Peele fame was directing a horror film, we knew to expect something unique to the genre. The first time director delivers in spades.
Similar to what made the director so popular in his sketch comedy show, Jordan Peele takes a well worn idea or concept and turns it on its ear. Get Out is well serviced by its cast including lead Daniel Kaluuya and Girls actor Allison Williams who play Chris and Rose as a charming new-age couple that play as people rather than stereotypes. You immediately take to Rose because of her wit and charm, Chris is a photographer and has an adorable dog. It’s as if the film is daring you to take offence to the totally normal couple.
You see Chris is meeting Roses parents, but he has a concern, they don’t know that he’s black and Rose scoffs at his concerns, stating that her parents are not racist at all and *insert Obama joke here*. When Chris meets her family they seem kind enough, maybe a little too loving and too understanding but decent enough.
This is where Get Out really begins to shine, the movie brings the laughs but not the kind you’d expect. It’s that awkward kind of humor that very quickly could and does turn into tension throughout. Jordan Peele has made a very successful career out of hitting that sweet spot of it’s funny because it’s true but still oh so wrong. But imagine that without the overt comedy, and where it goes two or three steps too far and you are either squirming in your seat or nodding your head in acknowledgement.
You may think you have an idea of where this is all going midway through, with the thinly veiled barbs and the welcoming environment that turns to insult after a while. Kaluuya plays the part perfectly as understanding that this is how things can be sometimes but still willing to stand his ground when pushed. He voices his suspicion at times throughout but when Rose rebuffs his theories, he starts to feels foolish until overwhelming evidence that something is seriously wrong.
The most unnerving characters in the film are the servants played by Marcus Henderson and Betty Gabriel as Walter and Georgina respectively. It’s almost too appropriate that these two acting so strange would be the most off-putting thing about the film. These two author the most unsettling moments in the film, that make you want to shrink away in your seat until they go away. For pure comedy LilRel Howery plays Rod, the best friend. Used like an expertly placed bomb, when moments are getting too tense, and as the wild conspiracy theorist. He’s so good that you’ll forgive his character for being rather one-note with a movie full of more fleshed out characters. It’s just that note is so so good.
Just when everything is starting to feel a little long, the movie rockets towards its conclusion on a satisfying note. You almost wish the comeuppance would last a little longer as a payback for the squirming you’ll be doing in your seat. The final gag is great but all the more so when you realize how uncomfortable you were in the lead up because we were ALL thinking it. It’s great and a little sad at the same time.
Get Out proves it’s existence by not just being some well trodden form of horror-comedy. It strives to defy expectations. You don’t have to have lived the life that Chris has to feel his unease, the movie welcomes you to laugh along with it. It’s a movie that will get under your fingernails and stay there for a good long while as one of the most fresh takes on the horror genre in years.