Review: Get Out

4 stars
A dark and funny tale about race and class

Get Out by Jordan Peele (of Key & Peele fame) is not a masterpiece. It misses that high bar because its canvas is too small, the plot at times a bit too predictable, and the acting too ordinary. But it is a dark and entertaining little story about race and class that stays with you, and that you won’t regret watching.

The premise is simple enough: black photographer Chris Washington gets to meet the well-off parents of his white girlfriend Rose. As what started as a “meet the parents” trip is subsumed into a larger annual family get-together, small sinister goings-on develop into full-on horror.

Yes, this is a horror movie that quickly picks up pace, but its dark humor and social commentary are always so close at hand that the horror that gets under your skin is mostly of a different nature than, say, the creepy twins in The Shining. This is a movie about the role of black people in the United States, about slavery, about upper/middle class anxieties. But it manages to speak to those topics without being preachy and depressing.

This is a fine directorial debut for Peele, who has assembled a solid cast to tell his tale. Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams do well enough in the lead roles, though I felt there was a bit of depth missing in their performances. LiRel Howery knocks his “comic relief sidekick” role out of the park (I laughed out loud several times), and Catherine Keener is excellent as the “friendly but actually super-creepy” matriarch.

Recommended without major reservations. I look forward to Peele’s future directorial efforts.