By Guuto Dolal
Jordan Peele is best known for his work on the television series Key and Peele, with his comedic partner Keegan Michael Key, but in his directorial debut Get Out, he veers into an entirely new direction. The film tells the story of a black man’s experience meeting his white girlfriend’s family in a wealthy secluded suburb that might have something terrifying going on under the surface. Get Out has a lot to say about race, and does so effectively through a creative plot, great performances and fun direction
Peele’s strength in this film is his ability to capture the uncomfortableness of unintended racism. A great number of the conversations the protagonist Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) has with people of other races are based on the fact that he is a black man. This effectively communicates the constant awkwardness people of colour must deal with in their everyday lives. I must praise the writing of this film as it is a creative and original way to convey a message. The story is told in a way that makes it feel fresh and new even though it’s a message we’ve heard before. The performances are stellar throughout Get Out but Betty Gabriel stole the show as the maid Georgina. Whenever she is on screen, she unsettled the audience with her legitimately creepy performance. Bradley Whitford is hilarious in this film as an older white man trying to connect with Chris. Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams are both excellent as the young couple on this trip and Milton Howery was laugh out loud funny as the comedic relief. The scenes of dark comedy with Howery are where Peele’s style shines. He induces laughter directly after uncomfortable moments, reminding the audience of his time on television. This mix of comedy and horror are reminiscent of The Cabin in The Woods (2012).
Get Out also succeeds because it trusts its audience. Peele subtly and discreetly gives the viewers information about the plot instead of a relying on verbal exposition like most modern horror films. It’s the type of project that requires a second viewing to confirm that no details were missed. Peele constantly pushes you to look back at what you’ve already watched to connect the dots and discover what’s going on. His detail-oriented approach to this film is evident in the final product and it pays off greatly. My only complaint about the film is the use of multiple genre clichés, like dead cell phones and keys being lost at crucial times, that take you out of the experience. Fortunately, though, the intriguing plot always pulls you back in.
Get Out is an unsettling horror film with a great deal of social commentary, and almost every minute of it is enjoyable. Jordan Peele has proven himself to be a versatile filmmaker and has me anticipating his next project. Whether you are a fan of horror or not, this is a film you need to see. It is an opportunity to feel the awkwardness of racism and to see what people of colour deal with on a regular basis. Get Out is definitely worth the price of admission.
(Featured Image: Get Out, Universal Pictures)