Photographer Chris (Kaluuya) and girlfriend Rose (Williams) make for her parents' lavish country estate for the weekend. They haven't met Chris yet and don't even know he's black, which makes him nervous, but Rose promises her parents – Whitford and Keener - are cool. They're weird too and look like they're trying too hard to be 'down' with Chris and therapist Keener's strong offer to hypnotise Chris to cure him of his 'disgusting' smoking habit isn't helping. Twitchy brother Caleb Landry Jones turns up and is too eager to show Chris his jujitsu moves. And then there's the black maid and groundskeeper, whose frozen smiles and robotic movements suggest something is afoot…
Part horror, part thriller, part comedy, part social satire, part Stepford Wives and part (oops, this other reference will give the game away), Jordan Peele's creepy and fun debut keeps a lot of balls juggling. Peele's skill is that he's able to indulge in horror tropes and keep one guessing at the same time: What does the opening kidnap in suburbia have to do with this? What about the deer Rose’s car hits? And is the title a warning or an order? The writer-director keeps one guessing – even if you've figured it out early there are a few red herrings and left turns thrown into the mix to make you doubt yourself. Peele looks for the creepy in the ordinary and finds it every time.
It's difficult to discuss why the sharp social satire works so well without spoilers but credit to Peele in not getting the easy target in his sights – namely white privileged Trump supporters – and directs his ire at the white liberal elite. Peele has fun exposing Whitford's attempts to be 'colour-blind'; during the tour of the impressive house Whitford makes sure to stop at a picture of his athlete grandfather who was defeated by Jesse Owens before the Berlin Olympics "and all that Aryan bullshit."
Get Out doesn't have it all its own way. Some comic moments are fun but others (most involving Chris' buddy and TSA officer Lil Rel Howery) feel like they belong to a different movie, while Peele at times overuses characters talking to themselves in a manner people don't just to get across what they're thinking. But the performances are terrific. Kaluuya (Sicario, Black Mirror) is asked to do more than be weirded out when Keener's sessions reveal hidden depths to the character, and he boasts decent chemistry with Williams. Whitford is perfectly cringey, Keener is unsettling and there's no one better than Landry Jones to bring that certain edginess.