Universal 103 Minutes R
This film is billed as a horror film, but it’s much more than that. There are lots of layers, including racial commentary. For those out there who thought we might have entered a post racial society with the election of a Black President, this movie acknowledges that falsehood with both humor and sarcasm.
Jordan Peele is known for his work in comedy in MadTV and Key & Peele. But he is a huge fan of horror films. Here, he has set up a modern day version of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (The Tracy and Hepburn classic). A young White American woman named Rose, played by Allison Williams, is taking her African American boyfriend, Chris, played by Daniel Kaluuya, to visit her very White and weird upscale family at their estate.
At first, you think these people are just acting funny because they’re dealing with the interracial relationship. Not so. Chris soon finds out that many of its residents, who are Black, have previously gone mysteriously missing. But by the time he gets warned by another African American to “Get Out,” he’s trapped, and headed for some really horrible activities.
Allison Williams is bright and sexy in her role as Chris’s lover. She’s very convincing and doesn’t see much strange about her family. The first part of the film is pretty creepy. You know the parents are not playing with a full deck. They’re too nice, appear very liberal and accepting. Mom or Missy, played by Catherine Keener, is manipulative. She’s a therapeutic hypnotist. Dad or Dean, played by Bradley Whitford is tightly wound. He’s a neurosurgeon. Hmmm. What are they really up to? They both play their roles with great control even though they are a bit cartoonish at times. But that’s exactly how Peele wanted them to be.
You’ll be squirming in your seat, knowing something is about to happen. Chris and Rose seem believable as a couple, but with parents and her bi-polar brother, Jeremy played by Caleb Landry Jones, Chris has plenty to be wary of. And when the glassy-eyed, automaton maid is around, and the scary staring gardener comes running full speed at Chris, your heart will start beating a little faster. Each time, the bit turns into something less scary, and there’s literally comic relief. But not for long.
Chris plays smart, but clueless and innocent all at the same time. But as the clues start piling up, he starts to get wise. Is it too late? Once Chris gets trapped, he’s in for some serious physical and mental torture. Peele manages to take you to the edge and have you feel Chris’ frustration, realization and agony right along with him. It’s the eerie music by Michael Abels that punctuates and enhances the tension that builds through the scenes of Chris coming to the realization of the danger he’s facing.
How is he going to “Get Out” of this?
Fortunately, Chris has a friend, Rod Williams, played by Lilrel Howery who really cares about him and is apprehensive about his buddy’s going to meet the parents. Rod is a TSA agent who likes to play detective. Good thing. But when he puts two and two together and tries to get some help from officials, Peele creates it as a pretty funny scene. He makes this roller coaster horror ride garner some good laughs. No doubt, if Peele had cast himself for a role in this movie, he would have played Rod, but Howery does an excellent job. He’s plays good friend.
But there’s plenty of machinations Chris still has to go through on is own. When the blood starts flowing, the audience was cheering at our screening. Deer antlers can be very useful. And even if you aren’t fond of horror films, check this one out. Go in. It’s worth seeing if they Get Out!