Screen contributor Ben Kempton discusses Jordan Peele's directorial debut.
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Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out is a chilling racial horror that makes Gaylord Focker meeting Jack Byrnes seem like a walk in the park. When the interracial relationship between Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) reaches the dreaded ‘meet the family’ stage, Chris has no idea what he’s in for.

Get Out is shockingly welcome amidst a genre that is shrivelling into a cringe worthy, dry, baron pit. Horror appears to be exhausted by the same-old story lines (You would think by now families wouldn’t move into a house where multiple murders have happened before). But Get Out is original and fresh. It is remarkable for a debut director to have such a firm grip on genre. Peele has created a genuine edge of seat, nail-biting experience. The opening kidnapping scene sets the horror tone straight away.

The film reaches further afar as Peele’s comedy aspect is also induced perfectly to create a horror-comedy hybrid which works harmoniously. Peele had detached himself from his American comedy sketch show Key & Peele to direct Get Out and his comedy credentials shine through with a poignant satirical edge, subliminally touching on how white people can’t seem to talk to a black person without mentioning race. Comic relief also comes from the completely hilarious Rod (Lil Rey Howery) who masterfully steals every scene he is in.

As for the rest of the cast, Get Out sees a terrific display of acting talent. Kaluuya perfects the American accent to the point you forget he’s British and his chilled character with deep emotional undertones progresses into insanity and realisation perfectly. The creepy psycho family played by Bradley Whitford (Dean Armitage, Dad), Catherine Keener (Missy Armitage, Mum) and Caleb Landry Jones (Jeremy Armitage, brother) are so well created,they appear friendly from their introduction, yet there is always something suspicious in their behaviour. Landry Jones was a particular stand-out. The family dinner scene – dare I say – resonated the crazy tones of Heath Ledger’s The Joker.

Peele addresses racial issues and by insightfully inserting horror to it, he powerfully highlights the issue whilst bringing cinematic scares. Realist racism is the horror of the film. Whilst the film is not faultless, it is a sharp, provoking piece from a director this reviewer looks forward to seeing more from.

Ben Kempton