Straight off the bat we are introduced to Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams) as they are preparing for a trip. Their happy little existence is about to be taken to the next level as Chris is about to be introduced to Rose’s parents and family. This is a nervous moment in most relationships for the non-family member but this one has extra worry thrown in there too:
Do they know I’m black? – Chris
Although he is already wary of the situation of meeting Rose’s parents at their home, Chris is welcomed in by Dean and Missy, played quite superbly by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener. With plenty of joviality and pleasantries and good natured humour it should all be pleasant and relaxing but it is underpinned by an uneasiness that is hard to define.
Daniel Kaluuya portrays Chris really well and his performance feels natural and develops really well as the film progresses, getting the insecurity across of being out of his comfort zone, and as things start to go wrong and increase so does the unease. There are a lot of close ups in this film, and the various actors do really well to convey emotion and emotionless meanings across with minimal movement. As good as Daniel’s performance as Chris is, it is ably opposed by the overly jovial, slightly uncomfortable performances from the parents as they welcome Chris into their family home and then to their friends. Chris’s best friend Rod (LilRey Howery) provides almost all of the light relief and the humour as Chris’s situation expands and escalates into Rod’s worst paranoiac imaginings and it is needed to break you out of the intensity and the questioning that the narrative provides. You know that something is not quite right about them all, but not knowing what makes this a more interesting piece. You get the feeling that something is up, but can’t quite put your finger on it or work out how Chris fits into this scenario.
In the end, however, it doesn’t quite reach the level that the intense and superb build up deserves and this gives it a slightly underwhelming resolution but even so, this is a fantastically well put together thriller/horror that has all of the elements in the right place. The social commentary on race is imprinted on every scene in this film, always there reminding you, prompting you to not forget and this gives the film a relevance that elevates it above the norm whilst not detracting from the story itself but enhancing it.
Jordan Peele has done a great job in crafting this film from start to finish, making the characters likeable but also with something less tangible, something that can’t be placed but isn’t right, isn’t quite how it should be. The slow burning first two acts are perfectly paced and ramp up the fear and paranoia as we reach towards the climax of the third act.
Atmospheric throughout from start to finish, a sense of dread and unknowing adds to this, and gives Get Out a more classic feel than the modern horror that we have been treated to over the last decade or more and I’m all for it. Lingering fear and the unknowing are so much more powerful than a passing shock or jump scare and are more likely to stay with you too.
Get Out is a really clever take on the horror genre, adding the social element and utilising the stigma of racial tensions to heighten the threat whilst at the same time masking it with the overtly pleasant surroundings and overly welcoming crowd.