The best kind of horror has always been the films where real life expectations and experiences are subverted. They play on our day to day lives, twisting our reality into something perverse that cuts into the depths of our nightmares and embellishes it on the big screen.
For writer and director Jordan Peele, his brand new horror sensation Get Out, a movie that swiftly soared way above $100 million at the US Box Office, fixes on a very heated topic in the US right now; the terrifying element which is twisted to perversion is white liberal America and its impact on the black community. The result is an eerily real and provocative film.
Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out revolves around a young photographer named Chris who is heading to the suburbs to meet his girlfriend Rose’s parents for the first time. Hesitant that her white family won’t accept him as a black man, he nonetheless heads with Rose to her parents’ somewhat quaint and isolated home. There, he finds himself at odds with the mysterious Armitage family. On the surface, the seem like an accepting and loving family, but as Chris peels the layers back, he discovers something gravely sinister going on in town.
For a debut solo outing, Peele’s work is a remarkable and chilling horror that cuts to the bone of the real terror of our nightmares – people. Impeccably acted by British star Daniel Kaluuya, Chris’ journey through an almost Stepford Wives suburbia is a wrought and terribly entertaining escape. Trickling through most scenes is this sense of unease and an unsettling fright that bubbles throughout the whole narrative in this alluring, compelling, and insane piece of work.
Insane in a good way, mind. Jordan Peele’s work here is an intellectual deviation from the classic horror set up whilst also critically analysing America and its values. For the thriller angle, Peele takes you down particular paths only to switch the destination in a glorious and wickedly scary manner. Imagine the film in a scene with groundskeeper Walter running head onto Chris. You’re unsure and freaked out by the unfamiliarity and oddity on display, believing that Walter will tackle Chris for sure only, at the last minute, you see him careen off in a different direction, leaving you bewildered in the greatest way… You’ve got to see it to really get the gist of those kinds of set ups, something I hope this review entices you to do.
The analogy of middle-class liberal America being the main villain here is an apt one for Get Out. It would’ve been easy to use the “Racist South,” as many horror movies have done, but here Peele subverts the liberal angle. The folks who would’ve “voted Obama in for a third term” and use “my man” repeatedly as a way of seeming “hip.” The white people who’d still quantify the black community into “urban” boxes in a positive, but still racist way. Unearthing this bias and prejudice, despite seeming accepting in one way but positively fiendish in the other. You’ve got to hand it to, Caleb Landry Jones, Catherine Keener, and the immutable Bradley Whitford who flesh out this theme in the unsettling Armitage family. Their performances are different levels of creepy but are honed in a fantastically way.
This all being said, Get Out is very much a vehicle for Peele’s writing and directing as well as Kaluuya’s performance. You immediately feel for Chris and his journey here as well as unearthing some painful vulnerabilities. Through his performance, it all feels a whole lot more closer to the bone and devastatingly emotional too.
There’s a reason why Get Out is smashing the Box Office in US. Subversive, horrific, and gripping. You should be ‘getting in’ to see this film already…