get out

The midnight secret screening at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival was probably the worst kept secret in the festival’s history: It was the premiere of Jordan Peele‘s directorial debut Get Out, a Blumhouse-produced horror movie that takes on the monster of racism in modern times. Imagine Meet The Parents mixed with The Stepford Wives. It’s smart, visceral, thrilling and, of course, funny.

The set-up for this story is that a young African-American man (played by Daniel Kaluuya ) visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) mysterious family estate. Chris is nervous about meeting his girlfriend’s parents for the first time, not just because of the obvious but also because she never told them that she was dating a black man. But once they get to the house, the parents (played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) seem perfectly pleasant. Although, they appear to be overcompensating in the racism department — for example, Whitford’s character Dean tells Chris out of nowhere that he would have voted for Obama for a third term if he could have.

The family employs a black housekeeper and groundskeeper, which makes Chris even more uncomfortable despite the fact the parents insist that the workers are like part of the family. They are visiting the parents during a weekend where they hold a massive party, attended mostly by white wealthy elitists. The underlying subtle bits of racism begin to add up and seems to indicate something is not right. I won’t ruin where this film heads, but it’s thrilling and terrifying. While the movie is prominently a horror thriller (there are some fun jump scares), it does have some well spread moments of humor.

The script is an incredibly clever look at elitist racism and the idea of slavery in the modern world, which is more than we should ask for from a fun horror flick. However, like a lot of horror movies, I don’t think the story lives up to post-analysis. If the family has nefarious plans for Chris — and that’s a big if — it’s unclear why they would orchestrate such an elaborate set-up to bring him into this world. Especially when there would be easier ways to get him, as we see in the opening scene of the film, a masterful single-take sequence of a man being abducted on the streets. The premise is great but crumbles under examination. But that is not a reason to not see this film.

The movie was obviously written and filmed before the recent changes in our political climate. Instead of being aimed at middle American conservatives, the story takes on the racism of the liberal elite. This isn’t a complaint, it is actually good to see a film that plays with a side of racism that we less often explore in Hollywood movies.

/Film Rating: 7 out of 10

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About the Author

Peter Sciretta is a film geek and popcultured fanboy living in Los Angeles. He created /Film in 2005.