Daniel Kaluuya’s strong performance shines in this racial horror-comedy
Everyone knows that racism is scary. But only people of color experience it first-hand. When thinking about racism, slavery, and Hitler probably come to mind. Sadly, in this seemingly ‘post-racist’ world, there’s still subtle racism and Get Out forces it viewers to come face to face with it. This isn’t the kind of racism that existed during the time of slavery nor is it the kind of racism that black people face in the 1960s. This is the kind of awkward cringe-worthy everyday racism. They are the “we voted for Obama, just to let you know” kind of racism.
Jordan Peele ‘s directorial debut is ambitious on so many levels. His commentary on race, his mix of horror and comedy and the trippy visuals may alienate a lot of viewers. For those who do stick around, Peele not only has a great first movie on his hand but rare horror masterpiece.
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is about to meet his girlfriend, Rose’s (Allison Williams), parents. Feeling extremely uneasy about how they might react when the find out he’s black, Rose offers him comfort by saying that they are not racist. As they get closer to her parent’s house, weird things start happening.
When they finally arrive, Chris notices that he is the only black person that is not a servant. As he meets more of Rose’s family, they begin to act bizarrely saying racially insensitive things to him. All that is only on the surface as Chris soon finds out that he may be part of something bigger.
Jordan Peele not only captures the uneasy feeling, he perfectly balances the horror-comedy. For someone who has done plenty of comedy, Peele is able to match Scream’s fine horror-comedy balance. Without much practice, he is able to fully understands the genre something that a lot of directors cannot do so effortlessly.
The first part of Get Out is mostly a mystery. It’s greatly helped by the eerie and unsettling atmosphere it presents. Most of it is achieved by Peele’s directing and Toby Oliver’s (Wolf Creek 2) brilliant cinematography. The brilliance comes from taking their time to establish the uneasy atmosphere.
Get Out‘s story gets most of its mileage from the clever racial commentary. Peele is able to make anyone feel uncomfortable as his viewers experience Chris’ awkward situation. As the guest start touching him and saying weird things to him, the audience feels the unsettling nature of the house the same way Chris does. Its use of surreal imagery also helps the viewer feel alienated from the family. It’s smart yet realistically puts anyone in Chris’ shoes.
The commentary hits hard just like everything Get Out has to offer. Its twists and turns are sneaky while still being interesting. And when the reveal is shown, Peele doesn’t abandon his satirical commentary. Instead, he fully affirms it diving in more in what he does best while still knowing the limits. Jordan Peele also subverts the horror genre tropes. Instead of putting the white final girl, Peele brings the audience back to the time of The Night Of The Living Dead by putting a black man at the center of a horror movie.
Doing almost everything right in the realm of good genre filmmaking, there is more to come from director Jordan Peele. If Peele taught white people anything, it’s that racism and prejudices can be terrifying.
Get Out is released in wide on February 23rd in Canada and the US.