Jordan Peele of the acclaimed comedy duo Key & Peele takes a stab at horror as co-writer and director of the horror-comedy Get Out. His instincts as a comic writer serve him well, but the scares come up short.
Daniel Kaluuya plays Chris, an African-American photographer with a white girlfriend (Allison Williams). She takes him for a weekend at her parents’ (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) secluded country estate. The parents fancy themselves as enlightened progressives, but some spectacular awkwardness ensues nonetheless. Whitford talks about how he would have voted for Obama three times (if the film had been released six months later, he could have talked endlessly about how Moonlight was the best film of the year). But there are sinister things under the surface as Chris notices the home’s African-American servants behaving strangely.
All of the awkwardness works well, as Chris endures the patronizing comments of people who are superficially kind to him because it makes them feel better about themselves, not because of any genuine empathy. But once the gears of the horror plot grind, the film stumbles. There are very few actual scares and the villains are dispatched all too easily in the final act.
But despite these issues, Peele’s still a filmmaker to keep an eye on.