To discuss more how the premise of Get Out plays out would be an injustice to audience members who have yet to see the movie and for the film itself. Although touted as a horror-comedy, Get Out is more of a suspense buoyed with comedic beats, while director Peele himself says it is the first of many social commentary comedies he is planning. Recently off from a comedic background and as part of the sketch duo of Key and Peele, it's expected to find the transition -- both to a director's chair and to a different genre -- to be rough for Peele. However, it's surprising how seasoned this film is, accomplishing a pace and a payoff that is far more assured than many other horror movies of this day. Horror, like comedy, is about timing and reveals, after all.
Get Out plays like a Mozart symphony in that its charm has the power to enthrall and entertain, while a closer look by those who want to (and should) reveals a much more intricate setup. Yes, this film is about racism, but more importantly it's about the African American experience. In the past few years, we've had films such as 42 which talked about the Jackie Robinson story and also painted white people vs black people in broad strokes (giving us an epilogue which gave all the deplorable white people their comeuppance) and Loving which was an important movie, but also made racism something horrid and separate from the viewers. Get Out is more sophisticated than that, addressing racial tensions and identity in the open mask of liberal ignorance, with Dean Armitage (Bradley Whitford) assuring Chris that he would have voted for Obama a third time if he could have, and stating with pride how his father lost a race (ha ha) to Jesse Owens.
Peele's "sunken place" has several disturbing layers to it, creating a space where people see what is going around them but are unable to effect a change. On the one lighter hand, it's much like an audience of a horror movie yelling at the characters on screen to look behind them. On the other, it's an allegory of Peele's assessment of the amount of black men that are thrown into a dark prison room for the remainder of their lives. There are several scenes that similarly tread into darker territory, and not only because of the amount of gore, but because Peele has taken this opportunity and medium to address fears and bring them into the (suburban) light.
The beginning of the movie has plenty of jump scares, but they're more of a rhythmic calculation that elicits laughs just as much as horror, like a sly wink that Peele shares with audience members who are as familiar with horror movie tensions as he is. None of those moments or his verbal jabs are cheap or thoughtless. Similarly, Peele folds in racial tension again with winks that serve to amp up uneasiness mainly because we find that they're recognizable. Consequently, what Peele has done here has inherent value not only for its entertainment, but because of its power to put us in the experience of someone other than ourselves and to take one step to truly understanding it. However many words we throw at someone in hopes of reconciliation, Peele proves that in this instance perhaps the film medium can do more to putting us all in the same space.
All around fantastic cast with a confident voice and self-assured pace, Get Out is both highly enjoyable and also worth the thought that follows. It'll be a pleasure to see what Peele comes up with next.