Fuckin’ white people, man.
When it was first announced that Jordan Peele, of the comedy duo and hugely enjoyable Comedy Central sketch comedy series Key & Peele was going to tackle a low budget horror-comedy for his directorial debut, many people were understandably curious about its prospects, considering Peele didn’t seem to have a wealth of experience behind the camera, at least from what it widely known already. Fast forward to a year and a half later and we now have Get Out, which proves to be not only a solid standalone film in its own right, but also a startlingly fresh and wonderfully unusual genre outing, and from a creator that many people were not expecting.
The plot concerns the interracial couple of Chris and Rose (played with a considerable amount of chemistry by Daniel Kaluuya and Alison Williams), who are going on a trip to introduce the African American Chris to Rose’s family. This at first is only met with a slight amount of hesitation, but grows into more of a pressing concern for Chris, as some well-meaning yet uncomfortable pleasantries at first eventually give way to more dire circumstances – and if that extremely vague summary leaves you confused, then all the better, since going into Get Out with as little knowledge as possible will only enrich the experience of watching it. Casting-wise the film doesn’t have a weak link, with the aformentioned couple really lending a solid anchor to the sometimes outrageous proceedings. And while the film is pure horror from start to finish, Jordan Peele’s background in comedy – particularly of the satirical brand – allows him to insert some pretty amusingly uncomfortable and well-handled setpieces of a more comedic nature. Normally these types of moments might grind the pace of the film to a screeching halt, but Peele is skilled enough to have it all flow together nicely, and the contrasting moments of fear and humor compliment one another very well.
As lofty as the ambitions Jordan Peele is aiming for with Get Out are, it does at times suffer from a lot of problems which many first-time features are inflicted with, in that it sometimes bites off more than it can chew thematically, or suffers in a few technical areas. Namely, a slightly jumbled pace heading into the third act, and some of the more action-heavy moments during the climax coming across as rushed or not entirely well handled. That, and some extremely out of place jump scares early on – granted, those might’ve been placed there intentionally, as a sort of parody of that type of thing. But if that was the intention, it really isn’t communicated well enough and those moments do stick out in a film that otherwise does such a good job of avoiding those kinds of groan-worthy tropes. Of course these are all minor criticisms for sure, but these are smaller details that with Jordan Peele will almost certainly be able to improve as he gains more experience directing in the future.
On the whole, Get Out is a pretty solid piece of pulp-horror filmmaking, and a damn intriguing debut feature by Jordan Peele of all people. Who knew he had it in him? While it’s not perfect, there’s a lot more on its mind than most films of this sort ever dream of aspiring towards, and I for one am very much looking forward to seeing whatever Peele is able to conjure up next. If this film is any indication, he has quite a few truly outstanding films in him somewhere, and while Get Out just falls short of greatness, it still hints at something greater to come from this fresh new voice the filmic world has just been introduced to.