Get Out (2017)

Review #1,419

Director:  Jordan Peele
Cast:  Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, Caleb Landry Jones
Plot:  A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend's mysterious family estate.

Genre:  Mystery / Horror / Comedy
Awards:  Official Selection (Sundance). Won 1 Oscar - Best Original Screenplay.  Nom. for 3 Oscars - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Leading Actor
Runtime:  104min
Rating:  NC16 for violence, bloody images, and language including sexual references
Distributor:  United International Pictures

“Man, I told you not to go in that house.”

Get Out could not have been released in a timelier fashion.  Taking first bite at the Trump administration, and revelling in the climate of heightened appreciation for black stories on film—Moonlight’s Oscar Best Picture win was another valuable step forward in the direction set forth by such recent works as 12 Years a Slave (2013), Fruitvale Station (2013), Selma (2014), and to some extent, Creed (2015)—Jordan Peele's debut feature is 2017’s first must-watch horror film.  It is also a comedy, an incredibly hilarious if highly disturbing treatise on race relations and history in America. 

Peele casts unknowns in Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams, who play a black man and a white woman respectively in a romantic relationship.  So, Rose brings Chris to meet her parents for the first time in a short stayover one weekend.  Everything is normal, but perhaps a tad too strange a sense of normalcy as Chris feels it, with Peele giving us mysterious, even creepy, signals, which are indebted to the genre that ratchet up the tension. 

Get Out is sharp and clever, in the spirit of films like The Cabin in the Woods (2012) and It Follows (2014), creating something unique out of homage, clich├ęs and fears.  Its balance of horror and dark humour is so astute that it even reminds of films like Big Bad Wolves (2013), often succeeding in turning real-world issues of race and power into macabre genre-bending allegories. 

The hyper-sensitivity of the black man propels the narrative, revealing deep layers of unsettling developments, but it is his black masculinity that is at stake.  If I may put it vaguely out of fear of revealing too much, the black man must triumph—in brains and brawn—against a white-washed historical trauma.  Peele lets the film play these out naturally, and the result is better than anyone would expect. 

Well-paced, constantly intriguing and refreshing in its execution, Get Out will be remembered as being the first black horror-comedy released by a major studio to be a game-changer.  Black lives matter.  Peele, who will certainly solidify himself as a major talent after this showing, provokes us to think about that in a powerful and different way. 

Verdict:  A sharp and clever genre-bending horror-comedy that is timely in its racial allegory and refreshing in its execution.


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