Get Out is one of the eeriest, funniest, and most socially relevant horror film to come out in decades. The film, which is the directorial debut from Jordan Peele (of Key & Peele fame), tackles racism—specifically racism from rich, liberal-leaning white people—in a fresh and powerful way. Daniel Kaluuya is excellent as Chris, a black man going home to his white girlfriend’s house to meet her parents for the first time. The rest of the cast is pitch-perfect, with Allison Williams as Chris’ girlfriend Rose, Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener as her parents, and Lil Rel Howery providing much of the comic relief throughout the film as Chris’ friend Rod. If you enjoy horror films that make you think, then Get Out is for you.
The film begins as a young black man (played by Lakeith Stanfield from TV’s Atlanta) walks through an affluent neighborhood while talking on his cell phone. After he hangs up, a creepy car slowly drives by, playing a foreboding 1930’s tune “Run Rabbit Run.” Without giving too much away, let’s just say that the song chosen for the scene is an appropriate one. After this opening, we meet Chris (played by the previously mentioned Kaluuya, who is probably best known for playing Bing in a terrific Season 1 episode of Black Mirror), a talented photographer living a comfortable existence in a nice loft apartment in the city. Soon, his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams, best known for her work on HBO’s Girls) shows up, and they pack for a weekend getaway to Rose’s parents’ house. Chris is getting progressively more worried about their trip, however, especially when Rose reveals that she has not let her parents know that Chris is black. She reassures him by letting him know that her father “would have voted for Obama for a third term if he could have.”
After Chris and Rose hit a deer and Chris is racially profiled by a backwoods police officer, they arrive at the beautiful home of Rose’s parents, Dean and Missy Armitage (played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener, each of whom hovers expertly between welcoming and menacing). Things are unsettling at first, when Chris notices that all of the Armitages’ servants are black—and almost robotic in their actions. After a strange experience in which Missy—a therapist—hypnotizes Chris, things go from unsettling to horrifying. It seems that the Armitages might have something much more sinister in mind for Chris than just welcoming him into their lives.
Get Out is a masterpiece. It works as a horror film—it is self-aware and winks at the camera on multiple occasions, but the scares are real and plentiful. More than just a horror film, however, it works as a social commentary on race relations in America—and remains as current an issue as ever. Many issues are touched upon throughout the film—such as racial profiling by law enforcement (as was mentioned above), white people’s strange obsession with the athleticism (both real and perceived) of African-Americans, and the isolating feeling of being a black man surrounded by oblivious white people. Jordan Peele, who both wrote and directed the film, does an amazing job at keeping the tone of the film consistent throughout, while exploring some important themes and allowing plenty of room for the audience to laugh amidst the horror.
The acting in the movie is phenomenal from top to bottom. Daniel Kaluuya is excellent as Chris; his performance is subtle and deep. He has to play a slew of emotions throughout the film, including the recollection of a traumatic experience he had as a child, and he does it all without missing a beat. The rest of the cast is great as well. Allison Williams’ Rose gets more and more creepy as the movie progresses, and both Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford are perfect as her eager-to-please, ulterior-motive-carrying parents. Caleb Landry Jones is formidably strange as Rose’s brother Jeremy—he shines, in particular, during a dinner scene early on in the film with his family and Chris. Stephen Root is memorable as a blind art dealer. And Lil Rey Howery (who is also fantastic on the sitcom The Carmichael Show) steals every scene that he’s in as Chris’ best friend and dog-sitter, Rod. In all, the well-rounded cast helps make this movie the classic that it’s destined to become.
It’s astonishing that Get Out is Jordan Peele’s directorial debut. It is sharp, fast-paced, hilarious at times, and genuinely scary. The whole cast is perfect (particularly Daniel Kaluuya in the main role), there are some great twists and turns throughout, and the social commentary could not be more timely. If you are in the mood for a scary film that will stay with you after you leave the theater, then you should see Get Out immediately.