Imagine yourself as a black man walking down the sidewalk at night in a primarily white suburban neighborhood. A car then slowly creeps up behind you on the street. How terrifying would that be to be followed simply because you’re a black person lost in a “white” neighborhood? It’s not an exaggeration to say some have lost their lives for something so normal.
Now imagine yourself as a black man with a white girlfriend who is going to meet her affluent parents for the first time. The experience makes you nervous; especially since she has not mentioned to her parents that her new boyfriend is black.
What Jordan Peele has created with the new movie “Get Out,” which he wrote, produced and directed, is a psychological thriller that addresses racial issues with a blend of satire, comedy and, yes, horror.
Daniel Kaluuya plays Chris Washington, who is preparing to head to upstate New York to meet the parents of his girlfriend, Rose Armitage, played by Allison Williams.
With Rose driving on a rural road, a deer jumps out and hits their car. Chris checks on the deer and, after a police officer arrives to take a report, Rose defends Chris to the cop, who had racially profiled him. Clearly the pretty white girl cares about her new boyfriend of five months.
When they arrive at her parents’ house, the first thing Chris sees is a black groundskeeper, Walter, played by Marcus Henderson. Chris then sees that Rose’s parents, Dean and Missy, superbly portrayed by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener, also employ a black housekeeper, Georgina. Betty Gabriel does a marvelous job of portraying the complex Georgina.
The employment of black servants raises red flags with Chris, who does take some seemingly benign racial clichés in stride. Dean and Missy, who are both doctors, appear to be white liberals and Dean even tells Chris he “would’ve voted for Obama for a third term.”
The creepiness factor rises from there as Chris is pawed and groped by the Armitage’s other relatives. After Chris realizes the Armitage family hasn’t been honest with him, he makes it a point to buck the trend of their disturbing traditions.
Peele admittedly borrows from other movies, but “Get Out” is more than a solid directorial debut. With hints of “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” and “Stepford Wives,” you can also see elements of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and even “Being John Malkovich” in “Get Out.”
With clever writing, excellent pacing and a score that isn’t just background noise, Peele has brilliantly created a horror film that takes a deeply pointed take on racial issues.
Peele uses the horror genre in the same way he and Keegan Michael Key used comedy in their sketch comedy show, “Key and Peele,” to address racism and other societal issues.
But “Get Out” doesn’t preach to its audience. It is a wholly entertaining movie that makes a hell of a lot more sense once everything is revealed.
You may see a couple of the twists coming, because a few are pretty obviously forecasted, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be disappointed when you’re right. There are other moments that will surprise you and maybe even make you jump in your seat.
Race tensions in the U.S. are the highest they’ve been since the Civil Rights movement. “Get Out” is a timely movie that will entertain you, but also make you contemplate your own prejudices.