Get Out melds Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner with The Stepford Wives to create an intelligent critique on racial tensions within modern America.
Get Out fearlessly invokes comedy and horror conventions to tackle themes of race and paranoia.
From the opening of Jordan Peele’s feature film directorial debut, it’s evident that he’s setting out to exploit an underlying tension in modern America, as the opening scene portraying a black man getting lost as he walks the streets of a predominantly white neighbourhood.
The narrative promptly cuts to photographer Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams), travelling upstate to meet her parents after five months of dating.
While he’s concerned that her family may be surprised to learn she’s in a relationship with an African-American man, Rose is quick to assure him that he has no reason to be anxious.
Yet as soon as the pair step into Rose’s parents’ house, the vibe is truly unsettling.
Her odd brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) makes the observation that Chris’ build would mean he could be a “beast” of an MMA fighter, while her neurosurgeon father Dean (Bradley Whitford) and psychiatrist mother Missy (Catherine Keener) make things even more awkward with every passing moment.
Dean’s heavy-handed comments about wishing he could vote for Obama for a third term, or the achievements of Olympian Jesse Owens, providing some cringeworthy viewing.
But Chris simply reads their overly accommodating actions as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's first interracial relationship and excuses their behaviour.
Meanwhile, what is even more unsettling is the demeanour of the estate’s staff, including Walter (Marcus Henderson) and housekeeper Georgina (Betty Gabriel), who appear regressive and robotic in their actions.
He later struggles to make contact with his TSA agent buddy Rod (Lil Rel Howery), while the only other black man he meets in the neighbourhood, Logan (LaKeith Stanfield), acts strangely towards him.
As the weekend progresses, Chris grows more and more uncomfortable, especially when Missy attempts to hypnotise him to help him quit smoking.
And a heightened sense of being the Other, which Peele captures through clever point-of-view shots, comes to a head when Chris becomes the focus of attention at an annual party held by Dean and Missy for their equally wealthy white friends.
Plot details about the final act are best kept under wraps, but it can be said that Peele uses tropes from classic horror and thrillers from the likes of The Silence of the Lambs, The Shining and Rosemary’s Baby in a masterly way.
A scene shot in Dean’s basement has all the surrealism of a Stanley Kubrick moment, as does the inclusion of a blind art dealer as a key character.
Get Out fluctuates between being creepy, fear-inducing and funny - cleverly melding references to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner with The Stepford Wives to create an intelligent and often gut-wrenching critique.
It helps that the key characters are perfectly cast, with Kaluuya and Williams putting in particularly cool and confident performances.
But if the movie has to have a breakout star, Howery’s comedic efforts as the Chris' hapless friend make him one to watch. © Cover Media
© Cover Media