HomeMoviesJordan Peele's "Get Out" is a Terrifying, Hilarious & Socially Conscious Horror...

Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” is a Terrifying, Hilarious & Socially Conscious Horror Film

I don’t think anyone could have predicted that Jordan Peele’s first major move after the end of Key & Peele would be writing and directing a horror film – let alone a horror film as good as Get Out. From the very first scene, this film feels like the work of a genre master, not a first-time director whose best known for his work as a comedian.

A blend of social commentary and scares, Get Out has a decent shot at being one of 2017’s most entertaining films. An outrageous statement to make in February? Perhaps… but it’s just that good.

The premise behind Get Out is a timely one, as well as a story that is bound to stir discussion. Daniel Kaluuya plays Chris, an African-American 20-something on a trip to meet his white girlfriend’s family for the first time. While he’s been dating Rose (Allison Williams of Girls) for five months, and she insists her family won’t mind their interracial relationship (she hilariously insists her father would have voted for Obama a third time in 2016), he can’t shake the feeling that something suspicious is going on with her family.

Rose’s dad (Bradley Whitford) continuously makes ignorant remarks, her brother (Caleb Landry Jones) is as mysterious as he is aggressive, and her mom (Catherine Keener) is a hypnotist who would love to have a session with Chris. And – most suspiciously – the only people of color in the rich, white suburb seem to be under a peculiar trance.

Peele directs this horror film with such skill that many scenes call to mind classics from the genre. The tone is straight out of a Twilight Zone episode, with Peele relying more on a general sense of eeriness than gore to put his audience on edge. Early scenes, where Peele has his characters explore the suspicious family’s home, feel almost Hithcockian, as he conveys a surprising amount of information with only his camera, without being obvious.

And the climax, which ratchets the tension up considerably, blends the surrealism of David Lynch with the socially conscious suspense of George Romero. Yes, Peele has certainly learned from the best – but he’s not afraid to put his own spin on things. Horror films tend to explore social issues, but it’s been years since has been as direct and honest in its intention and deeper meaning. There may be fantasy elements at play, but Get Out is about the very real terror of modern racism in America, and he never compromises his vision.

But Get Out isn’t pure terror. In fact, Peele’s comedic roots shine through with some hilarious one-liners and a subplot that feels ripped right out of Key & Peele in the best way. The audience is invited to laugh at the absurdity of the premise, without ever detracting from the seriousness of the topic at hand.

Additionally, other extended sequences feel like satirical sketches that explore racial tension – one brilliant moment, in which Chris is asked a serious of inappropriate racial questions by Rose’s white parents and their friends, manages to be hilarious, intelligent and unsettling.

Credit must also be given to this excellent ensemble – namely Daniel Kaluuya, who emerges quite the leading man after many years of TV work in the UK. Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford are also, unsurprisingly, wonderful, and Allison Williams proves she can effectively lampoon her image as one of Hollywood’s whitest actresses. In bit roles, Betty Gabriel (The Purge: Election Year) and Lakeith Stanfield (brilliant in the underseen Short Term 12 but best known for FX’s Atlanta) turn in memorable supporting performances. The only performance that doesn’t quite ring true is Caleb Landry Jones’, who comes off as a bit too obvious and over-the-top, though that also might be because of his lack of screen time in the second act.

Get Out is the sort of film that just feels like a rarity in Hollywood – a top-notch, truly original, socially conscious genre film that has something to say. The fact that a major film studio produced this is a minor miracle, especially in today’s heated political climate. And let’s not forget that this is Jordan Peele’s first feature film, and his first foray into a genre other than comedy. What will he do next? No one knows, but he’s clearly proven to be capable of blending genres. So, whatever he sets his sights on has the potential to be great.

Get Out rating: 9.5 out of 10

Matt Taylor
Matt Taylor
Matt Taylor is the TV editor at The Pop Break, along with being one of the site's awards show experts. When he's not at the nearest movie theater, he can be found bingeing the latest Netflix series, listening to synth pop, or updating his Oscar predictions. A Rutgers grad, he also works in academic publishing. Follow him on Twitter @MattNotMatthew1.

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