Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele have already made a name for themselves as two of the funniest men on television but after a seemingly rough start for their film career with Keanu (which played more as an overlong Key & Peele sketch) but now one half of them goes behind the director’s chair for a horror film. Get Out marks the directorial debut of Jordan Peele and it still carries his own dash of comedy, while intact remaining so terrifying. But I’m astonished that a man as funny as Jordan Peele could have made something like this given how he handles horror, and if Get Out signified anything for his future, he’s certainly on his way to becoming a great screenwriter and director. If he were to direct another comedy film or a horror film, count me on board.
Loosely inspired by the work of Ira Levin (especially Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives), Get Out features Daniel Kaluuya as a Chris Washington, a Brooklyn-based black photographer dating a Caucasian girl, Rose Armitage played by Allison Williams. For one weekend, the two of the plan to spend time with Rose’s family at their villa away from the city. At first, Chris seems enlightened by the idea although concerns have arisen at the lack of knowledge on the parents of Rose’s end that he is black. If the idea already doesn’t seem like the perfect setup for a satire, then the cleverness behind Jordan Peele’s experiment would only go ahead to elude oneself for it takes this background to become a perfect satire on racial relations and to see that Peele uses that potential wisely only makes for a pleasing time altogether.
As per tradition with Key & Peele, Jordan Peele would include traces of comedy that only highlight what makes Get Out work so perfectly for it feels more like a self-aware portrait of the sort of political issues that it is handling. On the surface level I would only have thought that Get Out was just a typical “white guilt” movie (i.e. The Blind Side, a film that I resent greatly) but maybe the horror genre was the perfect way to exploit this sort of story because it satirizes the perception brilliantly and works as a perfect antithesis in such a sense. It came clear from how Peele worked around this rather brilliant concept in order to create something that played out effectively not only as a horror film but a perfect satire on racial relations and perceptions of realities, the sort that fits perfectly during our times.
Speaking of how Jordan Peele works around elements of horror, it proves itself to be one of many areas to which his influences are and he expresses his love for horror perfectly through such. Peele’s wonders of establishing an atmosphere through his satirical premise only allow for his intentions to come out in the most unsettling manner, the only sort that fits so perfectly for a film like Get Out. But looking upon how he builds up a tone from his unique blend of comedy and horror, through his understanding of how certain tropes work: if anything at least it’s where the most satisfying aspects of Get Out become so clear. It works as a horror film because it understands how to get into one’s senses but it also provides so many great laughs on the count that it doesn’t overplay its own self-awareness rather than to use it as a motivation for the commentary being made by the satire.
That’s not to say Get Out is not a film without faults: probably the most clear being how the commentary is a tad too obvious for its own good. While it doesn’t lessen the effect of the satire, it can’t help but go unnoticed for it plays everything out in a manner that it feels so on-the-nose with our world today. If anything at least makes up for that, Daniel Kaluuya’s performance now as a leading black man in a horror film (contradicting the usual black character being the first to die in a horror film) only shows a great case that Jordan Peele makes for the psychological; the most effective element presented on behalf of Get Out. Catherine Keener’s performance is frightening enough already, but her own touches are the very least of where Get Out proves as terrifying as it is.
Jordan Peele already has a load of potential ahead of him with this comedy-horror film for he knows how to balance out scares and laughs perfectly through a great deal of self-awareness he puts on display. But the reveals only allow Get Out to create greater impact overall and it puts on perfect display Jordan Peele’s own passions behind the camera. Knowing him already for his incredible talent in comedy, it’s only pleasing to see that his ventures into horror are able to show the exact same joy, but knowing that this is only his directorial debut, it only makes me anticipate what is set to come next. I would only imagine that Ira Levin would be proud to have seen the influence of his own work presented in here. To get one pun out of the way the statement is a rather simple one at that; get out and see Get Out.
Watch the trailer right here.
All images via Universal.
Directed by Jordan Peele
Screenplay by Jordan Peele
Produced by Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr., Sean McKittrick, Jordan Peele
Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Lakeith Stanfield, Catherine Keener, Lil Rel Howery
Release Year: 2017
Running Time: 103 minutes