By Jason Yon
Elm Staff Writer
“Get Out” is the directorial debut of Jordan Peele, the co-creator and co-star of the hit comedy show “Key and Peele.” Surprisingly, this film shares very little in topic or style with the show or Peele’s previous writing venture, “Keanu.” Instead of a straight comedy, “Get Out” takes the form of a horror movie with interesting characteristics. Since it is written and directed by Jordan Peele, comedy and racial commentary are woven into the plot.
“Get Out” begins with Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) driving to stay at her parents’ house for the weekend. Chris and Rose are an interracial couple, and prior to leaving, Chris expresses concern over the fact that he is black. Rose assures him that everything will be fine between him and her white parents. Rod Williams (LilRel Williams), Chris’ best friend, warns him about going and he provides the main comedic relief throughout the movie. Upon Chris’ arrival it is obvious that something is awry. The only two other African-Americans around are the maid and groundskeeper who both act oddly. Chris needs to figure out who he can trust in order to survive the weekend.
The strangest part about “Get Out” is the genre, or lack thereof. The movie bounces around from horror to comedy so much that it feels like a Key and Peele skit from a Halloween special. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Peele writes the story and the characters to make it work. Sometimes, Chris is able to awkwardly laugh off some of the scary aspects of the movie, and other times, creepy things happen.
“Get Out” is best compared to a television episode of Key and Peele mixed with the Twilight Zone. It works sometimes, but other times feels campy and strange.
Some of the strangeness comes from the basis of the movie itself. Everything is built around a racial conflict between white people and black people. While this was funny in Peele’s show, it is more serious in his movie. Characters say things that aren’t really racist, but come off in ways that could be seen as racist. It all adds to the feeling that something is wrong in the neighborhood. If it were anyone else at the helm it could easily go wrong, but Peele makes it work. He can bring a certain amount of absurdity to a story and have it still be taken seriously.
It’s very difficult to articulate exactly how “Get Out” is successful, but it just is. It is one of those movies where the less questions you ask, the more entertaining it is. Peele’s absence in the form of a cameo was definitely disappointing, but it was also nice to experience more from him after the bomb of “Keanu” last year. “Get Out” is a strange take on horror with the incorporation of race.