“Get Out” proves it is possible to combine sharp humor with genuine terror. Jordan Peele created a horror movie that attracts a variety of audiences, but he was looking to do more than just provide entertainment. His Oscar-winning screenplay also offers a deep-seeded social critique on modern-day racism, and it is already a classic.
The film starts with a fabulous tone-setter. A young black man strolls down an empty street in search of an address when a car rolls up next to him playing the old American folk song, “Run Rabbit Run.” The horror scene perfectly concludes with the masked driver leaving his car and kidnapping the man from behind.
Peele uses this prologue to hint at the major fear factors and political influences characterized throughout the film. The black audience feels the fear of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the showcasing of violence from hate crimes is recognized.
Academy Award nominee Daniel Kaluuya plays Chris, the movie’s main protagonist. Chris is an urban, up-and-coming African-American photographer who is seemingly in a perfect relationship with Rose, a flirty and easygoing white girl played by Allison Williams. Their relationship doesn’t have much depth, and additional insight between the two would’ve added even more to Chris’s journey.
This journey begins when Rose decides it’s time to take her relationship with Chris to the next level by having him meet her parents. While race is evidently not a barrier between them, Chris’s automatic reaction when told he is going to visit his girlfriend’s parents is “Do they know I’m black?”
Chris isn’t the only one to feel anxious about the trip. His friend and TSA agent, Rod, played by the hysterical Lil Rel Howery, tries to keep Chris from going. But Rose reassures Chris that he should have nothing to fear: Her parents are both liberal, and her father “would have voted for Obama for a third term if [he] could.”
Peele perfectly depicts a creepy atmosphere the moment Chris and Rose arrive at her parents’ house. Rose’s neurosurgeon father (Bradley Whitford) and mother (Catherine Keener) are overwhelmingly friendly toward Chris at first. But he is immediately taken aback by the two black servants who loom around the house. Their groundskeeper, Walter, is as robotic and disconnected as imaginable. The same goes for Georgina, the wide-eyed housekeeper who has a consistent hair-tingling look on her face.
The cinematography throughout this portion of “Get Out” is the gold standard for horror films. The close-up shots of Chris’ face and the quick cuts to Georgina’s petrifying smile all add to the unsettling tension.
Peele suspensefully keeps every member of the audience waiting for the epic battle at the end of the film. The escalating insanity of this satirical ending act takes away from some of the race discussions this film could have advanced.
“Get Out” does a great job at tapping into a variety of emotions with every moviegoer. Jordan Peele took a risk with this innovative film, and he delivered. It’s hilarious, yet frightening, and its use of social commentary offers a new genre of horror that no one has seen before.