The horror genre can be perfect for directors to cut their teeth or for some biting social commentary. This could be said of any genre of course but due to the smaller budgets that horror flicks usually bring with them, directors with less clout or more frequently afforded these luxuries. Jordan Peele checks both of these boxes with his directorial debut ‘Get Out’.
‘Get Out’ is a fucking great horror-thriller packed with tension, great performances and plenty to say about race in a tasteful, thought-provoking way. There’s no sense in burying the lead on this one. This film starts off with a confident voice and visual tone and doesn’t miss a beat throughout. From the character introductions to exposition to forcing you to grip the armrests of whatever form of chair you are sitting in, Peele shows his audience that this is something he has wanted to do for a hot minute and can sure as shit deliver.
Perhaps you’d like a premise. I can help with that. Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams) have been dating for a few months when Rose decides that it’s time to introduce Chris to her parents (played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener). At first glance, the white, affluent family’s life and home doesn’t seem too peculiar until it does. Chris learns that the color of his skin may ultimately be his demise before the proverbial shit hits the fucking racist fan.
Peele shows throughout that he has been hiding an incredible toolbag of skills while sprinkling in glimpses of the skills we all know him for. The audience will definitely be squirming from beginning to end whether it be from genuine fear for Chris’s safety or from the awkwardness of how Rose’s old neighbors interact with him. Peele never lets the audience fall into this too deeply before throwing in a dash of well-executed comedy to bring them back to sanity and safety. Peele makes excellent use of a cast that includes Stephen Root and LiRel Howery and LaKeith Stanfield shows up to further prove to the world that he is THE TRUTH.
If I were forced to conjure up any flaws with ‘Get Out’ I would have to stop at two. The first would be that Peele could have done a better job of wrangling in the performance of Caleb Landry Jones (who plays Rose’s brother) as he makes some SERIOUS acting choices in this film that often feel like cheesy tv-movie moments. The second being that while the comedic moments land successfully, they aren’t all perfectly placed. Both of these flaws are something that a director will develop over time and neither distract from the overall quality of this work.
I would love nothing more than to dive deeper into this film but to spoil anything that plays out would be a disservice. Go in as blind as possible knowing that at worst, you will have a good time. Jordan Peele is a director who has no issues putting his voice on screen. His balancing of a somewhat substantial cast, ability to make your skin crawl and use of visual flourishes to further represent what his characters are experiencing are all of a level that a first time director shouldn’t be able to reach. This is a film that is successful as a piece of genre cinema that elevates itself so much more by addressing uncomfortable race-relations that unfortunately do still exist in a very real way. Peele could have easily delivered a film that failed to deliver scares or tension or could have overstayed its welcome with the social commentary and neither are remotely true. You’ll be frightened, you’ll think and that’s because you have to see this film.