Get Out starts a little like a rom-com. Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) packs his bags for a weekend at new girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) parents place. It’s young love, and the first time Chris will be introduced to Rose’s family.
The stage is set early for what’s to come, with Chris asking Rose in the first five minutes what her parents might think of her bringing home a young black man. Rose, being the liberal she is, tells him not to worry – her father would have voted for Obama a third time if he could. Chris is chill and all is good again.
After arriving at the parents’ house, things start to get a little whacky. The house itself is huge (by UK standards anyway) and immediately brings thoughts of an early 19th century slave plantation to mind. The family’s (black) gardener is eerily quiet and moves with a deliberate slowness. Their (black) housekeeper seems a little too nice. But true to her word, Rose’s mother and father seem relatively happy with her new boyfriend. Her father seems a little uneasy around Chris but doesn’t string him up or set him to work in the garden so all is good.
To be completely honest, this part of the movie really hits the nail on the head. It embodies all those awkward (and cute) moments when you first introduce a partner to your family. There are uncomfortable silences, getting-to-know-you questions and those reassuring touches from your partner that let you know you’re in this together (no matter how awkward it gets). At the same time there is a wholly unnatural tension as Chris is trying to work out what exactly it is about this place that puts him on edge. Is it the creepy hypnotherapist mother? The little-too-friendly father who wanted to vote for Obama a third time? Or Rose’s, slightly unhinged, younger brother who seems to be both attracted to Chris and see him as less than human?
Throughout the movie this sense of uneasiness grows. The ever increasing number of questions around what exactly is going on are interspersed with well executed jump scares that leave the viewer on the edge of the cinema seat. By the midpoint of the movie you start to wonder how this could possibly be resolved in a satisfying way.
The unfortunate truth is that it can’t be.
The final act of the movie is truly nail biting but it requires the viewer to suspend reality to enjoy it. This feels slightly at odds with the deliberately slow building tension it imparts on the viewer but it somehow works (just). The last 15 minutes is a good example of one of the many times the movie is carried by the performance of the cast; they’re all so exceptionally good that they drag the audience through the most unbelievable of plot points.
I can’t finish this review without praising the performance of LilRel Howery as Rod Williams, Chris’s closest friend. He brings warmth, comedy and satire to the movie in spades. He alone provides the majority of the light-relief needed to balance the whole show.