Whilst, Jordan Peele is better known for making up the latter element of 'Key & Peele'. He has begun making major strides in the film industry with his directorial debut, 'Get Out'. It has received both critical acclaim and triumphant box office success. Thus far, it has accrued a worldwide gross of approximately $147,669,880 - making Peele, the first black director to gross over $150 million with an inaugural film.
Why is 'Get Out' making such prolific waves? The premise of a boy meeting his girlfriend's family doesn't sound that innovative but, after watching the film itself and the way it illustrates racism as a liberalistic caricature of the middle classes. It strives to make the audience both uncomfortable and terrified.
It has been deemed a pioneer with modern day horror, whilst it's story is a fresh concept, the motif of 'good horror' has been consistent for decades - a reflection of societies angst at the time. Dracula (1931) challenged Victorian taboo subjects like lust and temptation, whereas Frankenstein (1931) looked at societies uncertainty and ultimately, rejection of immigrants. Decades later, George A. Romero was hailed a revolutionary within horror when he made Night of the Living Dead (1968) - putting social issues like; the vulnerability of alienation, cannibalism and the civil rights movement under the microscope.
Get Out adapts this ideology into modern day relevance, the monster doesn't have fangs or bolts in their neck. He showcases, the ultra reformist everyman. We live in a both controversial and uncertain time with social issues coming to the forefront like Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. Perhaps Peele is hoping to induce not just a worthwhile viewing but trigger an uncomfortable talking point that needs to be addressed?
The story itself is following Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a young black photographer who is going away for the weekend to meet the parents of his white girlfriend, Rose (Alison Williams). He is apprehensive that they will be uncomfortable with his ethnicity - she protests and manages to calm his insecurities. When they finally meet after an unfortunate incident with a non proverbial deer in the headlights, the parents attempt to exude they are 'cool' with the relationship by relentlessly referencing race in a positive light. Neither Chris, nor the audience are put at ease. Not forgetting, the two black house servants, shuffling mute around the house.
Side Note: Caleb Lundry Jones is fantastic as Rose's brother, Jeremy. A loose mercurial cannon, similar to Ben Foster's character in Hell or High Water - terrifying both when he is calm and also when viciously lashing out.
A bit like the gradual crescendo seen in Ben Wheatley's, Free Fire - Peele utilises both a natural progressive family synergy and unexpected hypnagogic twists. Perching the viewer at the edge of their seat throughout. Everyone's a suspect, except Chris of course.
The most effective tool in Peele's arsenal is his comedy. Whilst maintaining it's entertaining shock value, it does posses some real laugh out loud moments. Breaking up the tense atmosphere and preventing the film from developing into a lecture.