Best known for his work as one half of cult comedy duo Key and Peele, Jordan Peele makes an unexpected gear-shift into horror for his directorial debut. As it turns out, the outcome is better than anyone could have expected: Get Out is a slickly executed, expertly paced and remarkably well written thriller that succeeds all at once at being chillingly relevant, deeply scary and hugely entertaining.
Photographer Chris (Black Mirror‘s Daniel Kaluuya) comes home to his girlfriend Rose (Girls‘ Allison Williams) and they pack to go away for the weekend. They’re visiting Rose’s parents (Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford) at their country home, but Chris is concerned about one small detail: Rose has never told her parents that he is black.
It’s perhaps symptomatic of Peele’s comedy background that these early scenes work well both in terms of character development and simply being breezily engaging. The dialogue is natural and at times genuinely hilarious – Rose’s parents’ awkward, exaggerated attempts to be racially sensitive are initially a particularly rich source of laughs. It’s not surprising, then, that Get Out really starts to work its magic when these efforts stop being funny, and begin to become incrementally sinister.
To dig too deeply into where Get Out goes from here would detract from the experience: it’s a lean, smartly-constructed exercise in raw nerve-shredding whose slow-burning first half never drags its heels thanks to a combination of subtly escalating tension and a well-woven (and skilfully unravelled) central mystery. It’s far from a spoiler to allude to the fact that the film carries with it overt allusions to white supremacy, and paired with a Hitchcockian take on its suspense, this feels both classic in tone and jarringly, uncomfortably current. A gem.