Review: Smart, Accessible, Pin Sharp – ‘Get Out’ is an Essential Horror

It’s hard to remember the last time we had a horror film that burns with such lacerating topicality as Jordan Peele’s Get Out. Employing genre conventions in service of skewering and exposing the insidious nature of racism, it suggests the iconic, politically charged, zeitgeist-defining wallop of your Romeros and Carpenters of yesteryear.

It’s ostensibly The Wicker Man remodeled for the #BlackLivesMatter era — smart, accessible, pin-sharp, and also a more authentic, disturbing genre-tweaking pic about slavery and the antebellum South than Django Unchained. This rings resoundingly true in the sense that Peele’s shrewd, mordantly funny — and often discomforting — portrait of preening white privilege and entitlement reveals how Tarantino’s well-meaning, fist-bumping solidarity with black culture is not dissimilar to the wealthy elites here who fawn profusely over all aspects of otherwise-everyman protagonist Daniel Kaluuya’s blackness.

The set-up — a black boyfriend meeting his white girlfriend’s parents for the first time — is as switched-on as any of Peele’s sharpest sketch work with former comic collaborator Keegan-Michael Key. It’s perfectly oiled for optimal button-pushing squirm, which in this case, manifests itself in an outlandish plot involving kidnapping, hypnosis and pod-people creepiness.

Peele is a skillful puppet-master, with an efficiently honed grasp of timing, but he’s an even better, more astute chronicler of race relations, unearthing true terror in the toxicity of seemingly benign social pleasantries and the enveloping aloneness of the minority experience. Get Out is fundamentally the potent cinematic answer to “I can’t be racist because I have a [ethnic minority] friend”. It’s essential.

‘Get Out’ Movie Times