"Man, I told you not to go in that house"
When a young black man, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), travels to the country to meet his white girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) parents he begins to notice that not everything is what it seems in this idyllic countryside and something sinister may be afoot.
With his debut feature film as writer/director Jordan Peele has created something wonderful with Get Out. The surprise hit film packs an incredible punch by combining elements of social and political commentary, rich performances, gripping storytelling and most importantly genuine thrills and scares. What begins as a wonderful and confronting film about racial issues, a young black man having to deal with meeting his white girlfriend’s parents, twists it's way into one of the best Twilight Zone episodes crossed with an absolutely bonkers B-movie from the early 80s.
Peele is most commonly known as one half of the comedic duo Key and Peele but make no mistake Get Out is a pure thriller. While there are some wonderfully comedic moments splattered in to give the audience some relief, the film owes a great deal to the classics films like Rosemary’s Baby, The Wicker Man and The Stepford Wives. The tension slowly begins to ratchet up once the couple arrive at the country estate and Peele masterful controls the tone and mood as the piece develops. He cleverly sprinkles bizarre imagery and odd moments throughout, constantly putting the audience on edge, and ever so slowly lets his mystery unfold. The film doesn’t rely on gore or jump scares to thrill it’s audience but rather lets the mood handle that, similar to the films previously mentioned, striking a similar chord to those 70s greats.
The performances are key in a film like this and at the heart of it all is Daniel Kaluuya who delivers a realistic and human performance, allowing himself to become swept up in the madness around him all the while playing it with a subdued realism. As the parents, Dean and Missy, Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener deliver their usual brand of off-beat brilliance. Whitford sports a Cheshire cat grin, dropping lines explaining he’d have voted for Obama a third term if given the chance, while Keener owns the screen with her controlled silence and deep gaze. The two styles couldn’t be more different but when put together on screen the pair work as an insane double act that are captivating and chilling. Allison Williams rounds out the cast as Chris’s girlfriend Rose, delivering a surprisingly effective performance that turns what could’ve been a simple, one-note character into a person that actually has a surprising amount of depth, layers and compassion towards Chris and the situation he finds himself in.
With striking visuals and an ominous score that could've been lifted straight out of an Argento film, Get Out is another in the continuing trend of well crafted and beautiful looking horror films that have been sorely missed from the genre. The films visuals are complex and stylish without being flashy. There’s a real refined nature to the film and the way it’s constructed. Peele has proven himself a master right out of the gate, showcasing a real talent behind the camera not just in directing but with the slow build narrative he’s created.
Get Out couldn’t have come at a better time. With social, political and racial tensions at an all time high, it’s the type of genre film that works to inform and entertain at the same time. It’s never preachy with what it’s saying but the message is loud and clear, making this a film that's best seen with a cinema full of people willing to be caught up in the madness it has to offer.
It’s weird, tense, scary and enormously entertaining, Get Out has set a new high water mark for modern thrillers. While being reminiscent of 70s classics Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives, Peele’s racially fuelled mood piece deserves a place alongside the greats of the genre. It’s a film that will make you jump, cringe and keep you smiling long after you’ve left the cinema.
9 out of 10.
Reviewed by Chris Swan.