Get Out

USA/Japan 2017, 104 mins
Director: Jordan Peele

Thrilling and thought provoking, Get Out takes the concept of meeting-the-parents to horrifying new heights. Daniel Kaluuya’s Chris becomes increasingly aware that the overly accommodating behaviour of his girlfriend’s family is not just their awkward attempts at accepting an interracial relationship, but something much more sinister. Jordan Peele’s smart script and effortless direction challenge racial stereotypes and viewer’s expectations all the way to its end.
Chantelle Boyea,

Turning the creeping hypocrisy of modern racism into the scenario of a horror classic was a genius move by Jordan Peele. A parable about never assuming that the other shoe won’t drop when you’re Black in a majority-white society.
Arike Oke, Sight and Sound, Winter 2022-23

Peele upends the anticipated rhythms of horror by elongating suspense and throwing in jump scares at will, like a jazz drummer who’s so confident of the beat he’s simply decided to work around it.
Rebecca Harrison, Sight and Sound, Winter 2022-23

Ever since the days of Night of the Living Dead and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre it’s been a critical truism that the horror genre offers its own running commentary on the distressed state of modern America. With levels of onscreen carnage escalating over the years, however, it’s heartening to see a filmmaker opt not to deliver even more of the same, but instead return to the fantasy-inflected unease that made TV’s The Twilight Zone a pop-cultural barometer for the anxieties of an earlier American generation. Writer-director Jordan Peele’s remarkable debut feature is very much a product of our own Black Lives Matter era – provocatively so indeed – but one that purposefully uses Serling-esque surrealism as a fantastical container for a whole array of hot-button issues.

Get ready then for a movie that plunges into white insecurities about black sexuality and the lingering toxicity of slavery on the national psyche with such candour you’d probably have to go back decades to Richard Fleischer’s Mandingo (1975) and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s images of athletic African-American men to find anything more contentious. Setting itself up as a nightmare spin on the reassuring affirmation of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), Get Out casts Daniel Kaluuya in the Sidney Poitier role as the nice guy a tad wary of meeting his white girlfriend’s rich folks, then plunges him into a bizarre horror scenario where it’s not so much his self-respect that’s up for grabs but his very status as a sentient being.

Best not reveal too much about the gleeful B-flick twists in store for him, but suffice to say that the likes of Society (1989), Seconds (1966) and even (really!) The Man with Two Brains (1983) might come to mind, as Peele’s invention takes flight yet somehow remains grounded in the troubled realities of today’s America, evidently born of an African-American consciousness racked with fear and anger.

Actually, given that the scary white parents are super-wealthy professionals – brilliantly embodied by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener as smiley, ultra-reasonable hosts until suddenly they’re not – you could argue that Peele, previously best known as one half of Emmy-winning comedy duo Key and Peele, has tapped into two prime social currents in Trump’s US of A – rising racial tension and mistrust of the liberal elite. These ideas in themselves wouldn’t count for that much, however, were they not folded into a smart and effective piece of storytelling.

The big reveal in horror formula terms, for instance, doesn’t disappoint because it’s even weirder than we might have imagined, though the real achievement here is in the consistently unsettling first hour, hypersensitive to every infelicity of language and behaviour as Kaluuya’s easygoing protagonist is buffeted off balance, while a wonderfully imaginative recasting of the everyday conjures insidious terror from a teaspoon stirring in a bone-china cup. Thematically it’s full-on, yet the nuanced craft and narrative guile bring audiences along for the scares and not a few chuckles, before they realise the radical adventure they’ve just experienced. Is it too early to call this a modern genre classic?
Trevor Johnston, Sight and Sound, April 2017

Directed by: Jordan Peele
Executive Producers: Raymond Mansfield, Couper Samuelson, Shaun Redick, Jeanette Volturno
Produced by: Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr, Jordan Peele
Co-producers: Beatriz Sequeira, Marcei A. Brown, Gerard DiNardi, Phillip Dawe
Fairhope Unit Line Producer: Gerard DiNardi
Associate Producer: Chris Ryan
Fairhope Unit Unit Production Managers: Marcei A. Brown, Rick A. Osako
Production Co-ordinator: Jax Baker
Production Accountant: Sean Carville
Location Manager: Bass Hampton
Post-production Supervisor: Jennifer Scudder Trent
1st Assistant Director: Gerard DiNardi
2nd Assistant Director: Ram Paul Silbey
Casting by: Terri Taylor, Elizabeth Coulon
Extras Casting: Suzanne Massingill
Written by: Jordan Peele
Director of Photography: Toby Oliver
Camera Operators: Damian Church, Timothy Dixon
Steadicam Operator: Damian Church
1st Assistant Camera: Brian Udoff, Troy Wagner
2nd Assistant Camera: Alex Waters, Geoffrey Waters
Digital Imaging Technician: Stephan Fousanon
Gaffer: Sean Finnegan
Key Grip: Eric Damazio
Still Photographer: Justin Lubin
Visual Effects by: Ingenuity Studios
Special Effects Supervisor: Matt Harris
Edited by: Gregory Plotkin
Production Designer: Rusty Smith
Art Director: Chris Craine
Art Co-ordinators: Jackson Rambo, Elizabeth Boller
Set Decorator: Leonard Spears
Graphic Designer: John Pundt
Storyboard Artist: Eric Yamamoto
Property Master: Twig Leveque
Costume Designer: Nadine Haders
Costume Supervisor: Rachel Stringfellow
Department Head Make-up: Remi Savva
Key Make-up Artist: Melanie Deforrest
SPFX Makeup Artists: Scott Wheeler, Carlos H.E. Savant
Department Head Hair: Voni Hinkle
Main Titles Designed and Produced by: Filmograph
Title Designer: Aaron Becker
Digital Intermediate Colourist: Aidan Stanford
Music by: Michael Abels
Additional Music: Timothy Williams
Orchestra: Budapest Scoring Orchestra
Music Supervisor: Christopher Mollere
Production Sound Mixer: Jeff Bloomer
Boom Operator: Kellen Bloomer
Sound Utility: Brett Murray
Stunt Co-ordinator: Mark Vanselow

Daniel Kaluuya (Chris Washington)
Allison Williams (Rose Armitage)
Bradley Whitford (Dean Armitage)
Caleb Landry Jones (Jeremy Armitage)
Stephen Root (Jim Hudson)
Lakeith Stanfield (Andrew Logan King)
Catherine Keener (Missy Armitage)
Marcus Henderson (Walter)
Betty Gabriel (Georgina)
Lil Rel Howery (Rod Williams)
Ashley Leconte Campbell (Lisa Deets)
John Wilmot (Gordon Greene)
Caren Larkey (Emily Greene)
Julie Ann Doan (April Dray)
Rutherford Cravens (Parker Dray)

USA/Japan 2017
104 mins

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Programme notes and credits compiled by the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
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