Movie Review: “Get Out” is horror with serious satiric bite

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The warning is a just a joke between brothers. But since the “brothers”  aren’t actually siblings, it’s loaded with racial bite and edge.

“Don’t GO to a white girl’s parents’ house!”

Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is successful NYC photographer, and Rod (LilRel Howery) is just his TSA Agent pal, but he means what he says. There’s peril in pursuing the Skinny White Princess Rose (Allison Williams), following her to her native habitat.

“Get Out” is a deeply disturbing satire of the racial minefield that is post-Obama/Black Lives Matter America. Sketch-comedy whiz Jordan Peele of  TV’s”Key and Peele” and “Keanu” has cooked up the smartest horror movie in ages, an edge-of-your-seat thriller that is entertaining and creepily enlightening at the same time.

Chris wonders if Rose has told her parents he’s black. And she’s not having it.

“They’re NOT racists.”

Warnings from Rod aside, Chris is as on guard as you would suspect as he enters what looks like a sylvan sanctuary of affluent liberals.

get2“We’re HUGGERS,” Rose’s neurosurgeon dad (Bradley Whitford) insists, even as he’s trying too hard with the “My mans” and letting slip opinions about genetics and “wiping out” the herd of deer that wreck Rose’s SUV on their trip. “Breeding like rats” is some seriously loaded language.

The family’s  black household staff (Betty Gabriel and Marcus Henderson) seem like automatons, smiles pasted on faces beneath eyes filled with terror. There’s no black-on-black conviviality with these two, or any other black person they encounter in this enclave.

“I should get back to my work and mind my own business!”

Rose’s brother (Caleb Landry Jones) is a little too eager to talk sports, with an emphasis on mixed martial-arts.

And her mother (the great Catherine Keener) has that psychologist’s way of making you feel as if you’re being measured, studied under a microscope. You’re a smoker? Yeah, she’ll “cure” you with a simple session of hypnosis.

And when Keener’s shrink, at her most sinister, lures Chris into a “session” that reduces him to tears over his mother’s death, renders him helpless and yes — cures his cigarette craving  — we see Rod’s worst fears realized and “Get Out” takes off.

Peele gives us one of the most vivid and chilling renditions of hypnosis that the screen has ever seen.

“Get Out” suffers a little from the Achilles Hell of thrillers, a tendency to over-explain what’s going on in the later acts. Peele, as he and Keegan Michael Key demonstrated with “Keanu,” revels in the violence a bit more than you’d like in a satiric horror comedy.

But Howery’s paranoid comic relief delivers big laughs and hearty surprises. All the performances have an understated reality about them that adds to the horror. And the shocks and sense of “what America is like through OUR eyes” revelations are as tasty as they are testy.

It all combines to make “Get Out” a stunning debut picture, a satire as smart as Peele’s TV sketch show hinted it might be, but ambitious in ways that nothing he’s done before has managed, that rarest of the rare — a horror movie with frights, righteous rage and genius about it.

3half-star
MPAA Rating:R for violence, bloody images, and language including sexual references

Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, LilRel Howery

Credits:Written and directed by Jordan Peele. A Universal release.

Running time:

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