Jordan Peele asserts himself as a more-than-capable director at least ten times over with his thrilling directorial debut ‘Get Out’.
The film is ambitions and original, and features a visual style not often present in studio horror movies—or for first time directors.
In ‘Get Out,’ Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), an African-American, and his Caucasian girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), leave the city to meet Rose’s family at their suburban estate. Rose has yet to inform her parents that Chris is black, which understandably makes him nervous. At first, Rose’s parents seem normal if a little overly-anxious, but the magnitude of this typically awkward situation is slowly dialed up to an unsettling level as it becomes clear that something is off about Rose’s family. Chris, and the audience, begins to feel increasingly uneasy.
‘Get Out’ is an effective horror movie, trading in a barrage of cheap jump scares for an overall creepy feeling that simmers and intensifies until it finally boils over into an explosive and unpredictable third act. The eerie tone is in part established by Peele’s use of extreme close-ups, which showcase the acting of the film’s talented cast while making you feel all kinds of uncomfortable. Scarier still is the uncanny behavior of the family’s chipper black house staff. The unblinking gaze of Georgina the housekeeper (Betty Gabriel) is sure to haunt you on the long, dark walk home from the theater.
Peele’s genre-splicer of a horror flick liberally administers his signature brand of humor–but it does not come at the expense of the film’s tone, or your suspension of disbelief. Humor arises organically from the actors and situation. LilRel Howery plays the perfect comic relief to help balance out the movie’s more dark and serious themes. Peele is even able to find the comedy in played out horror tropes: one scene in particular features a rather intense looking Georgina that is overdone just enough to draw a laugh from the crowd.
The key to Peele’s film, however, is its racially charged undertone. Rather than spoon feeding us the audience-friendly, overt oppression we like to imagine exists in red states so that we do not have to feel implicated, Peele’s commentary forces us to examine the discomforting reality of racism within the liberal elite; for many, it is a monster that lurks underneath the veneer of everyday conversation, and that is the true horror.
‘Get Out’ hits theaters on February 24.