Give first-rate comedian Jordan Peele extremely high marks for being able to enter into the world of making horror films via jump-out-of-your-chair scares and not gross-you-out slasher scenes. He has made in “Get Out” a production that’s creepy, spooky and at times a little bit kooky.
Peele, the former “MADtv” cast member better known these days as half of the comedy duo of Key and Peele, has created a 21st century horror film that is similar in tone and design to “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” or “The Stepford Wives.” The terror comes from never knowing where or when the danger will come in a world that, on the surface, looks perfectly normal.
In a plot that’s more like “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” the progressive Rose (Allison Williams) is ready to take her new boyfriend, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) to meet her very upper-class parents. Chris is worried because Rose hasn’t told her parents that she’s in an interracial relationship.
The misgivings Chris has about meeting the parents seem to be unfounded as Rose’s mom and dad (Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener) welcome Chris into their perfect household. To show how modern he is, Dad even brags that he would have voted for Barack Obama a third time if that had been possible.
Actually, perfect isn’t the right word. Chris is concerned about some of the passive-aggressive racist comments the family members make. And, there is something weirdly wrong with the staff as they seem to be drifting along in a daze.
The weekend meeting becomes more uncomfortable as friends of the family – some of the whitest people on the planet – show up. This is when Peele begins to fold back the layers of the story to reveal the horror that exists behind this beautiful suburban world.
Any further discussion of the plot would reveal too much. “Get Out” is best enjoyed by getting to watch the tale unfold without knowing where the plot is going.
Peele shows a great understanding of the genre from his cultivation of scares from what appears to be a safe environment. It’s not like the clunky horror writing where a group of sex-starved teens end up in a cabin miles from humanity and wonder why they are being killed one by one.
The writer/director also understands the need to break the tension. Films that are nothing but one horrific act after another can drain the viewer while comedic moments allow the audience to relax. The comedy moments in “Get Out” are handled with great skill by LilRel Howery in his role as concerned friend.