By: Matt Prazak
Jordan Peele sits in the directors chair for the first time in his new thriller Get Out, starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford. Known for his comedic roles on TV before making the transition to the big screen with Keanu, Jordan Peele writes and directs a film that will keep you on edge while still managing to make you laugh from time to time. Get Out tells the story of an interracial couple who visit the parents of the girlfriend for the weekend. Tense from the beginning, Peele tackles a subject more relevant than ever with racism. Never coming off as blatantly racist, the passive aggressive family hits a nerve with the couple, leaving them uneasy. As more time is spent at the isolated house in the forest, Chris (Kaluuya) begins to uncover secrets of the family.
Kaluuya, having only played a supporting role in Sicario, is relatively new to American audiences but has left a great impression with his role in Get Out. Kaluuya shows subdued confliction early on before being broken down and mentally paralyzed. Allison Williams plays Rose, the girlfriend who begins to question her family when new discoveries about them are made. The breakout performances of the film are Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener who play Mr. and Mrs. Armitage. Whenever they’re on screen chills are sent down the spine, whether it be Whitford’s menacing stare or Keener scraping a spoon against a teacup. Peele gives Lil Rel Howery the opportunity to be the comic relief while still being pivotal to the story. His scenes act as a quick breather for the viewer before being engulfed in the atmospheric thriller. The ensemble should be applauded for being able to portray characters with different characteristics on the surface.
Get Out doesn’t break new ground in the horror genre but instead takes an idea and fleshes it out. Each character has a story and Peele does a great job telling them while still managing to keep a steady pace. Though Get Out doesn’t smother the audiences with cheap jump scares, it instead offers the viewers a glimpse into a world that does exist in this day and age, which is terrifying enough. From the opening credits the score seeps into the head of the viewers, leaving them to cringe. Despite the subject matter, Peele adds humor courtesy of Lil Rey Howery’s character. The comedic rants from his character work as a new perspective for the audience as we exhale from the tense scenes prior. Despite being his feature film debut, Jordan manages to show and not tell, framing each shot with the intention of teasing before visually pleasing. Get Out proves that Peele has a firm grip on this directing thing while showing versatility in different genres.
Sticking to the Blumhouse theme, Get Out excels thanks to a simple story being amplified due to the acting and direction. Peele has given us a fresh, satirical horror film that takes aim at a subject of relevance. Developing an atmosphere early, he lets the setting become a character as it gives off dread and disgust that other characters portray. Giving us a mix of horror and comedy, Peele keeps us off balance as we try to reel ourselves back in. Peele has crafted a film that has thrills, chills, and laughs while continuing to spark conversation on the subject of racism.
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