Key & Peele are master craftsmen of racial commentary in comedy. Many of their most memorable sketches from their hilarious show used horror elements to discuss racism in a humorous, yet effective method. Who could forget Suburban Zombies, or the equally awesome Alien Impostors? Their writing bridged the gap in many ways that even Sickle and I could join in with our horror-minded aspirations.
So then the two friends parted ways to pursue other interests. Sometimes those interests include collaborating on the same film Keanu. Or, in the case of Get Out, we see Peele venturing into the realm of writing and directing a feature-length film.
In Get Out, we follow Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) as they visit her family's estate. Chris, an African American, is concerned about her family's acceptance of her dating a black man. Upon arriving at the estate, Chris is increasingly unnerved by the behavior of her family, their friends, and in particular the African American "staff" of the house. As his paranoia accelerates, it would seem that Chris' fears are not entirely unwarranted.
Get Out is exactly what I would expect from Jordan Peele in the role of writer and director, except that it was beyond even the quality we find in his sketch comedy. In many ways Get Out is an elongated sketch. It carries many of the same elements as the aforementioned horror comedy sketches. But it would be doing a disservice to the film not to emphasize that it fully stands on its own and does not suffer any drag from its runtime despite its sketch "heritage".
The film's premise clearly pulls from The Stepford Wives. Where that film tackled sexism, this film tackles racism. It feels like we're watching a satire of a satire...satire-ception...that flows seamlessly with its topic. Nothing feels forced or in-your-face, but the message isn't subtle either. The horror elements and signature levity that Peele presents keeps the audience grounded in the perfect way so that we are getting a message without being backed into a corner.
The horror genre has many purposes, but none more profound than when it is used for social commentary effectively. Get Out is exactly this. A brilliantly blueprinted and executed cinematic story that exquisitely weaves a tale of racial constraint through a horror comedy facade.
The film is more comedy than horror. The atmospheric tension that builds in moments is certainly present, and we are treated to some effectively creepy and gruesome moments as well, but the film as a whole has the feeling of a lighthearted intention. So...know that going in.