Title: Get Out

Director: Jordan Peele

Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones and Catherine Keener

Entering into uncharted territory that has never fully proven its success can be a frightening challenge for those people who dare to take it on. Such is the case with the new horror comedy, ‘Get Out,’ which Universal Pictures is set to release in theaters on Friday. The suspense thriller finally proves that mixing humor into more frightening conflicts in genre films can rightfully be done, when the jokes are used to lighten the tension. The movie, which marks the feature film directorial debut of comedian Jordan Peele, who also wrote and produced the project, is a powerful examination into how a family contends with their daughter embarking on an interracial relationship, and how they rely on humor to ease the escalating horror of the situation.

‘Get Out’ follows Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a New York City photographer who’s traveling with his girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams), to the Upstate New York estate of her parents, Missy (Catherine Keener) and Dean (Bradley Whitford), for a weekend getaway. Chris is meeting Missy and Dean, as well as Rose’s twin brother, Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones), for the first time. The photographer initially believes that his girlfriend’s family is being overly accommodating to him, as they’re nervously dealing with Rose’s first interracial relationship. But Rose assures Chris that her upper-class liberal white family won’t be upset that she’s dating a black man.

But Rose soon begins to agree with Chris that her parents and brother, as well as their two black servants, groundskeeper Walter (Marcus Henderson) and housekeeper Georgina (Betty Gabriel), are acting strangely, and their behavior is becoming increasingly menacing. Missy, for example, is a shrink who specializes in hypnosis therapy, and continuously encourages Chris to allow her to help him him quit smoking. During her convincing persuasion, Missy also inquires about Chris’ childhood and family life.

Bean and Missy also host their annual sports-themed party in their backyard, and Chris begins to feel even more uncomfortable, as almost all of the guest are white. The guests mainly appear awkward around Chris, and as if they don’t encounter many black people in their social lives.

As the weekend progresses, the collective series of increasingly disturbing discoveries leave Chris nervous enough to repeatedly call, and share his concerns with, his best friend, Rod (LilRel Howery), who encourages him to immediately leave the estate. After finally taking his friend’s advice, Chris uncovers a truth that he could have never imagined that’s preventing him from returning to safety in the city.

‘Get Out’ serves as a tantalizing studio breakout leading role for Kaluuya, who’s known for starring in a supporting role in the 2015 crime drama, ‘Sicario,’ and is next set to next appear in Marvel’s anticipated 2018 superhero film, ‘Black Panther.’ The actor relatably brings the strong-willed protagonist to the screen in the suspense thriller, by subtly emphasizing Chris’ deep-rooted desire to be accepted for who he is.

While Peele smartly captured the ever-present racial tensions that continuously plague contemporary American society, as both the screenwriter and director, the filmmaker’s clever script provided a smart platform for Kaluuya to highlight how Chris’ need to be accepted goes further than his physical differences from the Armitages and their friends. As Rose’s boyfriend reveals to her mother the struggles he overcame in his childhood, Kaluuya showcases his ease at exposing his clear understanding of his character’s emotional vulnerabilities.

In addition to the strong performance given by Kaluuya as Chris tries to navigate the modern challenges of being a part of an interracial relationship, he and the rest of the cast brilliantly and smartly mixes humor into the strong reflection of clashes of different cultures. The lead actor and the supporting cast, particularly Williams and Howery, aren’t afraid to satirize the actions of Dean, Missy and their upper class white friends towards Chris, and point out how politically incorrect their reactions to him dating Rose are throughout the weekend.

‘Get Out’ is also one of the rare horror comedies that successfully interweaves its humor into the more emotionally and physically frightening elements that plague Chris and Rose throughout the weekend. As the couple slowly realize the damaging threat that her parents and their friends and servants present to them, they aren’t afraid to relay their fear through sarcastic commentary on how daunting the weekend has become. Chris memorably expresses his feeling of being disheartened over how such a seemingly liberal family and their peers express their apprehension over his race through cunning remarks.

Peele’s directorial debut is a stunningly unique horror comedy that smartly drives its suspenseful moments through relatable wit and emotional vulnerabilities, while also grounding its conflict through modern social tensions. Kaluuya gives a noteworthy breakout role as the strong-minded Chris, who’s determined to prove his worth to a class of people who unjustly define him, based on his race. Through its mix of resolute characters who aren’t afraid to defend their beliefs and its unabashed social and racial commentary, which are aided by cunning and powerful humor, ‘Get Out’ is a classic example of how horror comedies should be made.

Technical: B

Acting: B+

Story: B+

Overall: B+

Written by: Karen Benardello

Watch the official trailer for ‘Get Out’ below.

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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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