Having been a fan of Key & Peele since their MADTV days, my appreciation for the comedy deepened with their Comedy Central show. Naturally, when I first heard Jordan Peele was writing and directing a horror film (after the success of Keanu), I was excited. Seeing the trailer explicitly exploring race in the context of horror captured my attention and confirmed Get Out would be a quality, unique film.
The casting of Daniel Kaluuya as our protagonist, Chris Washington is a fantastic decision. I’ve been a fan of Kaluuya since he played the comedic bestie BBC’s 2011 supernatural show The Fades and then carried an entire episode of Black Mirror that same year. He’s proven himself in large roles and small with specifically creep, horror, and comedy. In Get Out, Kaluuya plays Chris, a wonderfully easy going, keen observer whose senses may be a little obscured by his love for his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). The couple plan to spend their weekend visiting Rose’s family and for Chris, it’s the Big Introduction. Rose’s parents aren’t even aware that he’s black.
deftly demonstrates how race operates on micro and macro levels, as well through interpersonal interactions and community displays. The film takes its atmospheric cues from classic Hitchcockian horror films, slowly turning up heat until we’re all boiling in the tension. It starts rather benignly with white people trying to prove they’re not racist (“I voted for Obama.”), seamlessly weaving in the death by a thousand cuts of microaggressions
, culminating into full blown exploitation and physical violence. Furthermore, Get Out
subverts horror film tropes simply by having a black character that also lives til the end, whose infuriating mistakes actually result in plot development, and by including the voice of the black audience through Chris’ hilarious and practical friend, Rod (Lil Rel Howery).
The horror commences with very real fears of being stopped by the police and once Chris is in the Armitage’s clutches becomes more hard sci-fi. However, the sci-fi falls away, because that isn’t the true horror here. The very first scene elicited true screams and by the end of the film my fellow viewers were literally on the edge of their seats. Everyone in the audience was deeply invested and engaged, laughing uproariously and applauding Chris’ victories. Destined to spawn a thousand think pieces, Get Out is a unique classic that actually outperforms the hype.