Starting in 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' territory as a young black man
called Chris (Psychoville's Daniel Kaluuya) visits the country home of his
white girlfriend for the first time before events start to turn a little
more sinister as he realises that there's something not quite right about
the few black people that reside and work in this mostly white community.
To say anymore would ruin the many surprises that writer/director Peele has
up his sleeve here. Not least the fact that he hasn't made the straight up
comedy you'd expect him to make for his debut feature as one half of sketch
comedy double act Key & Peele. Instead he fully embraces and subverts
the horror genre and its familiar tropes of increasing unease and
well-placed jump scares to unsettling effect.
However the film isn't entirely absent of humour, its use as a way of
relieving tension is impressively handled.
Its handling of race is also surprisingly provocative. Peele chooses not to
place his character in a more obvious openly bigoted world but in amongst a
group of white Liberals who would have genuinely 'voted for Obama if he'd
run for a third term' but clearly don't quite know how to interact with
black people who aren't cooking their dinner or raking the leaves on their
Peele mines this awkward situation for all its worth, especially in a
prolonged garden party scene.
He has also assembled an impressive cast with Kaluuya giving an outstanding
career making performance as Chris, building on recent strong turns in
Black Mirror and Sicario. Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford and Catherine
Keener are also excellent as his girlfriend Rose and her parents, while
LilRel Howery hilariously steals scenes as the best friend back home who
knew something wasn't quite right all along. Atlanta's Lakeith Stanfield,
Betty Gabriel and Marcus Henderson are also very good in small but key
roles. Plus Stephen 'Office Space' Root also makes an impression in a brief
appearance as a blind gallery owner.
If there is a fault, it's that the first half can be a little slow as it
sets up the scenario, though Peele certainly makes up for that in a violent
and relentless final act.
A bold and arresting debut, Get Out is a both a timely and unflinching look
at the subject of race in modern America and a cracking horror movie.