Balancing perfectly the poles of comedy and horror, Get Out proves a thrillingly fresh interpretation of both genres, playing on the expectations of the audience and tackling racial prejudice in a way that is neither offensive nor condescending for the increasingly cynical 21st century viewer.
The brain child of well-known comedian Jordan Peele, Get Out follows photographer Chris Washington as he visits his new girlfriend’s parents for the first time with suitably sinister consequences. The film never tries to hide the malevolence of the Armitage household and treats the audience with respect in offering an immediate sense of danger as Chris leaves the comfort of the city. Different threats are posed but Peele manages to keep us on our toes regarding just how bad the situation is; are we witnessing cult behaviour or is Chris just victim to his own expectations of racial prejudice. The awkward nature of the household beautifully creates humour whilst simultaneously setting up a degree of tension that builds throughout. Taking popular comedians and placing them in a tale this dark can be a risk but here the tinge of self-awareness in the script allows stars like Bradley Whitford, Stephen Root and Allison Williams to balance the comedic with the creepy. The breakout star though is Daniel Kaluuya, an actor I’ve had my eye on for years, who finally gets a starring role to show his talent of creating stoic, self-aware characters who become uniquely compelling through rare but powerful bursts of raw emotion. Kaluuya never seems a hapless victim but simply a man pushed to the extreme in a horrific situation with his role in the final act being one of the most entertaining conclusions to a horror film period; Peele turns the film on its head and leaves you breathless as the credits roll with tears of both fear and laughter.
While the imagery of the film never becomes too horrific, the sense of creeping dread that is maintained highlights the skill of the production; the music especially works to leave you shaking without too many shameless jump scares. With films like It Follows and The Witch, Get Out seems to continue our recent horror renaissance and may be my favourite of this selection thanks to an effortless blending of horror and comedy unseen since perhaps Shaun of the Dead. Addressing issues of race can often drag down an otherwise competent film with being either too edgy or too politically correct but Peele instead uses it to compliment and act as a foundation for the films events. Race issues create both the films most disturbing scenes and its biggest laughs as the Armitage family and their associates indulge in some amusingly unaware racism.
Get Out is a practically flawless film that blurs the line between horror and comedy in a fast paced and fist pumping narrative that’s overflowing with gore, tension and casual racism.