Creating a horror these days is tough thing to do due to audiences becoming desensitised by violence after seeing it several times over. Being a master of this genre is equally tricky as it takes risks, originality and wit, all the key tools which Jordan Peele possesses. Better known as one half of comedy duo Key & Peele, he seems an unlikely candidate to create what is one of the most original horror movies of all time. Peele has been praised several times for his intensely terrifying film, Get Out, his directorial debut which he also wrote.
Daniel Kaluuya stars as Chris Washington, a successful photographer who is African-American and has been seeing a Caucasian girl for five months called Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). The pair are visiting her parents, played superbly by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener, for the weekend which happens to coincide with a big annual party they throw for their esteemed guests. During his time at the Armitage’s home, Chris’s encounters with the entirely black staff are strange. They have an almost robotic look within their smiling faces and cold gaze, almost as if they are looking right through you. Throughout the film, there is a certain unnerving sense.
During the party sequence, each guest approaches Chris to poke and prod his existence in a slightly odd however seemingly friendly way. It’s an uncomfortable and interestingly humorous sequence which pushes the plot forward. It moves along at a perfect pace especially with its interjected moments of comedy gold from Milton Howery’s airport police officer Rod Williams who brings some big moments.
The film’s comment on liberal racism is prominent throughout, hinting at it now and then and occasionally throwing it in your face along with some gruesome horror and dark comedy. It’s consistently surprising but not in a typical horror movie way, there are rarely any moments of peace and quiet that are interrupted by a bang. The fear, intensity and thrills come more from the mood throughout the film, which you feel from the moment you enter the country house. Peele has crafted a movie which shows how smart a horror movie can be, whilst creating scenes that are intense, thrilling and funny all at once. It’s one hell of a talent to have.
4 out of 5.
Keep. It. Reel.